Nova Scotia enjoys a wealth of assets and opportunities linked to the ocean, with an economy that is inextricably linked to our seaside location. From the traditional fishing industry, to marine-based nutritional products, to our seafaring history, offshore energy and military establishments in our province, the ocean is part of Nova Scotia’s culture, charm, and commerce.

It is a sector that accounts for seven per cent of our GDP and about 35,000 jobs, with significant opportunities for growth and expansion.

There are limitless ways to increase our oceans investment, tapping into a wealth of potential innovation, economic expansion and opportunities to retain our youth by attracting and developing entrepreneurial talent.

To reach our ocean potential, we recommend a focused strategy with three primary objectives:

  • 7.1Build a top-calibre ocean industries cluster in Nova Scotia
  • 7.2Maximize growth opportunities in seafood with a focus on the burgeoning global potential of aquaculture
  • 7.3Enhance longer-term prospects in marine energy

Our Recommendations

7.1 Build a Top-Calibre Ocean Technology Cluster in Nova Scotia 

We’re already on our way. Nova Scotia has an international reputation in ocean observation and measurement, and we can continue to build and expand on this success. To become one of the top five ocean innovation ecosystems in the world, we should:

  • Create an anchor facility for ocean innovation, incubation and acceleration. Nova Scotia is developing a Centre for Ocean Ventures & Entrepreneurship (COVE) to enable established companies, start-ups, and researchers to share valuable waterfront space, equipment, and ideas. It will provide the infrastructure needed to accelerate knowledge transfer, commercialize research and incubate ocean-technology start-ups.
  • Support ocean industry R&D. As a centre of excellence at Dalhousie, the multidisciplinary Ocean Frontier Institute (OFI) strengthens existing international ocean partnerships and forges new ones. We should ensure it has the necessary support to continue bringing together students and experts around world-leading ocean research.
  • Drive the growth of ocean-tech firms. With the naval shipbuilding project already underway, Nova Scotia firms have an unprecedented opportunity to leverage this massive project as a springboard to become leaders in marine technology right in our own backyard. We must strive to maximize the value of the contracts to the advantage of local firms who are investing in research and training to become the best shipbuilders in the world.

7.2 Maximize Growth Opportunities in Seafood

Aquaculture and traditional ocean fisheries provide unique opportunities for Nova Scotia to succeed on the world stage. Both are critical elements of our ocean advantage and a primary source of employment and income in smaller communities.

  • The aquaculture opportunity is growing as world demand increases. With potential for tremendous export growth and rural job creation, Nova Scotians deserve a responsible aquaculture strategy. It should enable private-sector investment opportunities, while providing balance through leading research and an independent regulatory structure that fairly enforces protective regulations and policies.
  • Our ocean fisheries are a mainstay of Nova Scotia’s culture and economy. We must aim to be a top supplier of quality seafood in the world. We recommend post-secondary institutions, government and industry collaborate to maximize the marketed value of our fisheries resources.

7.3 Enhance Longer-Term Prospects in Marine Energy

Nova Scotia’s oceans sector represents a significant opportunity for our economy, from infinite future possibilities for tidal power generation, to offshore oil and liquefied natural gas. We have the chance to leverage all of these important areas to grow our economy.

  • Tidal energy is a gleaming possibility in Nova Scotia’s future. Working together, we can set the standard for the deployment, mooring, and operation of tidal energy. The private sector, with support from post-secondary institutions and the federal and provincial governments, should collaborate on R&D, as well as on manufacturing and operational service infrastructure.
  • Offshore oil and gas is a crucial piece of our economy. The government should continue to invest in offshore geo-science research as a cost-effective method to attract investment by the oil and gas sector.
  • Liquefied natural gas provides a growing opportunity. With global LNG trends shifting, we recommend Nova Scotia continue to work with the current offshore licence holders, LNG export companies and others to encourage further development of our offshore gas resources and grow export opportunities.