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Nova Scotia needs to improve monitoring of fish farms: auditor general

HALIFAX - Nova Scotia's auditor general says the province can't adequately monitor fish farms and is calling on the government to improve its ability to identify outbreaks of disease in the industry.Michael Pickup says the Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture follows its policies in issuing licences, leases and renewals.But while the department provides monitoring service on the health of fish and responds to emergencies, it might not always be aware of disease outbreaks.He says the department can't always tell whether outbreaks of disease are being managed properly.The findings are in the auditor general's latest report to the legislature, which also found that the Department of Health and Wellness doesn't know if prevention and treatment programs for problem gamblers work.Pickup looked at government procurement policies too, determining that while the government generally follows its rules on buying professional services in the six departments that were audited, it needs to make sure what it purchases has been properly approved.He says in some cases contracts were signed after work started and he found times when there were no contracts for the work being done.

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