HALIFAX - An independent report commissioned by the Nova Scotia government is casting doubt on the commercial viability of farming Atlantic salmon in land-based, closed-containment facilities.

The report by Gardner Pinfold Consulting concludes that land-based salmon farming operations -- while technically feasible -- would have to be large-scale to overcome the inherent engineering, building, labour and energy costs.

The report adds that the financial feasibility would have to be confirmed by observing the actual performance of a commercial-scale operation.

It also notes that land-based operations would not be restricted to coastal communities, given the existence of efficient water recirculation technology.

Keith Colwell, minister of fisheries and aquaculture, says the report will assist the province in developing a new, comprehensive aquaculture framework.

The development of an independent aquaculture regulatory review began in spring 2013 and the Nova Scotia government said it expects preliminary work to be ready for consideration by the summer.