News release

First Aquaculture Development Area Created in Argyle

Fisheries and Aquaculture
An aquaculture site in the Municipality of the District of Argyle (Centre for Marine Applied Research / Perennia)

An aquaculture site in the Municipality of the District of Argyle (Centre for Marine Applied Research / Perennia)

An aquaculture pilot project in the Municipality of the District of Argyle will save industry time with pre-approved sites for growing shellfish and marine plants.

The new approach involved working with the municipality and other partners to collect information about potential aquaculture sites, then sharing it with the community before companies could apply for a licence.

The result is the Argyle Aquaculture Development Area, the first example in Canada of a municipality being a partner in designating an area for the sector’s development. The project supports environmentally sustainable aquaculture in Nova Scotia.

“Municipal and department staff have worked together over the past four years to make this project a reality,” said Kent Smith, Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture. “It’s a proactive approach to aquaculture development to support local economies and sustainable shellfish and marine plant farming. Sites were reviewed by the Department, working with federal and provincial government partners and the municipality.”

The Argyle Aquaculture Development Area includes sites in Lobster Bay and Pubnico Harbour that will be developed in phases over time. Applications for the first six available sites opened today, April 15.

Under the pilot project, the Department, municipality and other partners worked together to collect scientific data and other information to identify suitable sites. The information was shared with community groups and during public engagement that was part of the review process. In a typical development process, this work would be done after a company applies for an aquaculture licence.


“Argyle is thrilled to host the first aquaculture development area in North America – that involves the municipality working with government and the community to create this pilot project. We already host great oyster producers in our region, and this announcement allows for streamlined oyster growth in our waters, which we believe to be an excellent way to provide other income options for our fishing community.”
— Danny Muise, Warden, Municipality of the District of Argyle

Quick Facts:

  • the Department and the municipality signed a memorandum of understanding in February 2020 to develop the aquaculture development area
  • the Argyle pilot project will be evaluated and adjusted as needed, informing similar projects with other interested municipalities
  • a lease and licence are required to operate a marine aquaculture site, including within an aquaculture development area
  • the Argyle project supports a recommendation made by the aquaculture regulatory review committee to have effective approval processes for both small and large operators
  • in 2022, aquaculture in Nova Scotia was valued at $158 million and directly employed about 800 people in rural and coastal communities

Additional Resources:

Argyle aquaculture development area:

News release – Municipality of Argyle, Province To Identify Aquaculture Development Areas:

Aquaculture in the Municipality of Argyle:

Aquaculture regulatory review:

Fisheries and Coastal Resources Act and regulations: