Managing the Impacts of Human Activities on Fish Habitat: The Governance, Practices, and Science

A Novel Regulatory Assessment and Planning Tool to Guide the Sustainable Development of Oyster Aquaculture in New Brunswick, Canada

Sophie Bastien-Daigle and Matthew Hardy


Abstract.—A comprehensive environmental assessment of oyster aquaculture projects was completed by Federal and provincial agencies in the Province of New Brunswick by applying existing technical and regulatory tools with an innovative approach. A replacement class screening report prepared under the authority of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act was combined with a multi-user watershed analysis supported by Marine Spatial Planning. This approach provided a framework to structure the strategic assessment of a coastal activity while using a scientific basis to integrate elements of ecosystem planning. It also integrated consideration of the cumulative impacts from this activity on aquatic ecosystems and resources. The main objectives of the project were to provide direction on the requirements for the future development of the oyster aquaculture industry, to ensure its sustainable development, to reduce its potential cumulative effects and to establish a more predictable regulatory governance structure. The paper gives an overview of the approach and briefly describes it benefits and drawbacks.