By Greg Bennett
The Coast Guard
Ocean Trout Farms has changed its mind about stocking sites in Shelburne Harbour with trout following a disease outbreak at Cooke Aquaculture sites earlier this year.
Instead, the company has begun the process to stock its lease site near Spectacle Island in Port Mouton Bay with rainbow trout. It will fallow sites in Shelburne Harbour.
The move has not been a popular one for some in the Queens County community but company officials said they were left with little choice but to reopen the bay to aquaculture.
“We would have liked to have had more time to work with the community prior to stocking this site,” says Sherman d’Entremont, Operations Manager, Ocean Trout Farms. “The unfortunate events in Shelburne Harbour and the arrangements made have led to a need to move quickly to change our original plans.”
Earlier this year, the outbreak of salmon anemia in Shelburne Harbour in salmon cages operated by Cooke Aquaculture led to the culling of thousands of salmon.
Ocean Trout Farms initially intended to send these fish to its Shelburne Harbour site. The company felt the need to stock this site in order to ensure the continuity of supply of its own products, and to minimize the impact on its local partners, including small hatchery operators in the province.
Despite protests that the Queens County bay is surrounded by pristine beaches, the company says the Spectacle Island site is well-suited to growing trout.
“Trout have a much shorter grow-out period and lower market weight than Atlantic salmon, thereby leading to relatively low biomass levels on the Spectacle Island site,” reads a company release.
Future plans for the site are still being discussed.
Ocean Trout Farms is a small, family-owned company. It has operated throughout the province since 2000. It operates small sites in different areas of the province, and is promising to operate in a respectful manner within the Port Mouton community.