[DIGBY, NS] — Cooke Aquaculture doesn’t know yet where or when it will build the fish hatchery proposed for the Digby area.
The Nova Scotia government awarded the New Brunswick salmon farming giant $25 million in financing this week for the company’ expansion into Nova Scotia.
Cooke plans to spend approximately $12 million of its own money towards the capital cost of the hatchery.
"We’ve been gathering some information but now, with this announcement, now we can move full steam ahead with location research," says Nell Halse, a spokesperson for Cooke Aquaculture.
Cooke owns land and a small hatchery in Mink Cove on Digby Neck and they have been doing testing there. The most important criteria in the site search is the fresh water supply, says Halse.
They have drilled three test wells on that site but Halse couldn’t say how long it will take to determine if the water is of the right quantity and quality.
"Mink Cove is just one of our options at this point. We’d like it to be near to our Digby base."
Under the funding agreement with the government, Cooke has three years to finish the hatchery, as well as a fish processing plant in Shelburne, and an expansion of the feed mill in Truro.
The funding agreement also sets out a target of over 400 new direct jobs in Nova Scotia, 20 of those at the Digby area hatchery.
The Digby area will also receive some of the 120 new farming jobs — the 17 people employed at the two St. Mary’s Bay sites will count towards that total.