Nova Scotia Power to voluntarily pay $50,000 to environmental damages fund following May 2017 fish mortality at White Rock Generating Station

News release

DARTMOUTH, NOVA SCOTIA – The Government of Canada is committed to protecting fish and fish habitat, and to ensuring that all Canadians continue to have access to these important resources now and for the future.

Nova Scotia Power Inc. (NSPI), in response to a May 2017 fish mortality resulting from the operation of its White Rock Generating Station (Kings County, Nova Scotia), has voluntarily agreed to pay $50,000 to the Federal Environmental Damages Fund by March 31, 2018.

The voluntary compliance follows an investigation by Fisheries and Oceans Canada for violations under Section 35 of the Fisheries Act which states, “No person shall carry on any work, undertaking or activity that results in serious harm to fish that are part of a commercial, recreational or Aboriginal fishery, or to fish that support such a fishery.”

On May 28, 2017, the unit gate at the Generating Station was opened to allow for a faster flow of water to accommodate an annual fundraising event. This increase in water flow resulted in the death of adult gaspereau.

NSPI and DFO have also agreed to the following additional measures as mitigation for the mortality event:  

  • NSPI will complete required repairs to the louvres and bubble curtain associated with the canal.
  • NSPI will undertake research to investigate alternative technologies that would exclude fish from the canal during migration. NSPI will hire a third party consultant to conduct this work. Deadline for completion is September 30, 2018.
  • NSPI will explore opportunities to provide support to DFO Science for real-time fish counts at the White Rock Generating Facility during the 2018 commercial, recreational or Aboriginal fishing season.
  • The White Rock Generating Station will no longer participate in non-operational events which would require the facility to adjust the unit gate to increase water flow downstream.

Organizations that focus on the restoration or enhancement of fish habitat on the Gaspereau River, or nearby water systems, will be given priority when applying to the Environmental Damages Fund (EDF) to access the $50,000 being contributed as a result of NSPI’s voluntary compliance. The EDF follows the “Polluter Pays Principle” to help ensure that those who cause environmental damage or harm to wildlife take responsibility for their actions.

Quick facts

  • As a result of DFO’s work with commercial fishers to manage harvest rates, and with NSPI to improve upstream and downstream fish passage, the gaspereau stock in the Gaspereau River has been rebuilding since the early 2000s.

  • In 2017, over 1.1 million fish ascended the ladder at the Generating Station, up from 400,000 in 2015 and 2016, and far surpassing previous highs of 80,000 to 170,000 in the late 1990s.

  • The EDF is a specified purpose account, administered by Environment and Climate Change Canada, to provide a mechanism for directing funds received as a result of fines, court orders, and voluntary payments to priority projects that will benefit our natural environment.

  • Those interested in submitting an application to the Fund should visit the EDF website and click on “Potential Applicants’ or contact the Atlantic Region Office at 1-800-663-5755 or

Associated links


Media Relations
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Maritimes Region



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