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First Nation community partners with Cooke Aquaculture in RAS project


(Image from: MIllbrook First Nation)

The Millbrook First Nation community said its plan to work with the Canadian arm of Cooke Aquaculture Inc., in developing a recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) smolt facility has received the green light from the Nova Scotia Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture (NSDFA).

The First Nation community said NSDFA approved the assignment of its aquaculture licence of a land-based fish hatchery in Millbrook to Kelly Cove Salmon Ltd., the Atlantic Canadian salmon farming division of family-owned Cooke Aquaculture.

The province posted its decision on June 14, 2021, following an administrative review process by multiple provincial and federal regulatory authorities and a 30-day public comment period, according to a press release from Cooke.

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Millbrook First Nation is a Mi’kmaq community located in Truro, Nova Scotia. The First Nation Council established an Artic Charr farming operation in 2002, but have decided to transition to farming Atlantic salmon with Cooke to meet market needs.

The Millbrook facility includes a grow-out building, a filtration building, bio filter/degassing building, a hatchery building, and a greenhouse. The facility employs five people and engages outside suppliers on a contract basis. The hatchery and main facility use a recirculation aquaculture system (RAS) engineered to have capacity to grow 450,000 salmon smolt for Cooke’s twelve marine aquaculture sites along Nova Scotia’s Southern and Western shores.

“Farming Atlantic salmon through best practices in association with Cooke Aquaculture as a world leading company provides us with a sustainable source of nutritious salmon and employment opportunities,” said Millbrook First Nation Chief Bob Gloade. “We appreciate that Cooke is growing responsibility and thoughtfully in Nova Scotia.”

“We have formed a productive relationship with the Millbrook First Nation to work together to grow Atlantic salmon smolt at their former Artic Charr land-based facility located in the community of Millbrook,” said Glenn Cooke, chief executive officer of Cooke Aquaculture Inc. “Our Kelly Cove Salmon Ltd. team and contractors from Millbrook First Nation have spent six months making preparations, and we are thrilled to be contributing to the community’s economic development.”