"Fisheries Minister Steve Craig introduced a bill in the Nova Scotia Legislature Tuesday to expand the membership of the Nova Scotia Aquaculture Review Board from three members to as many as 10."
"Craig said the move is to ensure there will be enough people available to hold hearings in a timely way, given the number of applications the government expects the arm's-length board to deal with in the coming years."
"There are about nine more cases to come in, about 12 to be added to that by 2023," Craig told reporters during a briefing on the proposed changes to the Fisheries and Coastal Resources Act.
There are a number of options now being looked at as well."
"We could be looking at upwards of 40 hearings that could go to this board."
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Clearly, this proposed bill from the new Minister is geared to speed up the approval process so they can push through volumes of aquaculture applications, quickly. It also raises many questions and concerns. What about the aquaculture site selection classification system promised by the PC party during the election campaign? What about public consultation and how would this happen while simultaneously pushing through a back-log of applications? During the campaign we heard, "A Tim Houston PC government will stop fish farm expansion projects and put them through an independent, rigorous approval process based on science." ? But scaling up the ARB to fast track the adjudicative process and expedite an influx of applications seems like the opposite of *stopping*, or phasing out for that matter as is happening on the west coast.. We will continue to follow and post updates on the status of this bill.