New amendments to the Aquaculture Act were introduced in the House of Assembly on Monday, with the goal of modernizing regulations.
The proposed changes will strengthen regulatory and enforcement opportunities, according to a provincial government news release.
The changes also aim to bring Newfoundland and Labrador legislation in line with other provinces.
The amendments include new rules for abandoned site reclamation; enhanced industry compliance and enforcement regulations; more comprehensive definitions; new ability for ministerial refusal of aquaculture licences if in the public interest; and, introduction of mandatory licensee compliance to aquatic animal health policies.
The amendments will enable the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture to require financial or other security to cover the operation and require the licensee to restore the aquaculture site to satisfaction. As well, the act will now give the minister the authority to give aquaculture inspectors the powers of peace officers when deemed necessary. Also, an amendment will enable ticketing and administrative penalties and provide associated regulation-making powers.
The changes follow consultations with industry stakeholders in 2010.
The provincial aquaculture industry consists of 133 aquaculture sites throughout the province.
The Aquaculture Act is the primary governance document for the aquaculture industry in Newfoundland and Labrador.