New BC aquaculture projects to support the economies of rural, coastal and First Nations communities



    CAMPBELL RIVER, BC, Jan. 8 /CNW/ - Three innovation projects designed to
boost the productivity and economic performance of the aquaculture industry in
B.C. will receive a total of $524,000 in federal funding through the
Government of Canada's Aquaculture Innovation and Market Access Program
(AIMAP).
    "When we invest in our aquaculture industry, we are investing in improved
conservation and sustainable jobs in British Columbia today and for years to
come," said Vancouver Island North MP John Duncan, who made the announcement
on behalf of Fisheries Minister Gail Shea. "That is why our Government is
investing $23.5 million over the next five years to support the development of
a vibrant and sustainable Canadian aquaculture industry that contributes to
the economies of rural, coastal and First Nations communities."
    The projects, being lead by Kyuquot SEAfoods Ltd., the B.C. Centre for
Aquatic Health Sciences and the B.C. Salmon Farmers Association, include work:
to develop environmentally friendly systems and components that will allow
existing salmon farm infrastructure to be modified to incorporate the
commercial-scale production of other marine species; to coordinate the
development of additional aquaculture innovation projects, including providing
information and expert advice to the industry; and transfer cryopreservation
technology from fish growers in New Zealand to the aquaculture industry in
Canada.
    AIMAP's overall goal is to support Canadian aquaculture and encourage
innovation investments in this industry. Funding provided through the program
will help recipients plan, manage and complete projects designed to enhance
the productivity, economic viability and potential of the aquaculture industry
in Canada, as well as to produce a healthy and nutritious food source.
    Please visit the following website for more information on DFO's
aquaculture program and the AIMAP application process:
www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/aquaculture/sustainable-durable/innovation-eng.htm. For more
information on the projects announced today, please view the media
backgrounder on these initiatives at:
www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/media/back-fiche-eng.htm

    
                                 Backgrounder
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    

    AQUACULTURE INNOVATION PROJECTS

    Three innovation projects designed to enhance the production capacity and
environmental performance of the aquaculture industry in British Columbia have
received a total of $524,000 in funding from the Government of Canada through
its Aquaculture Innovation and Market Access Program (AIMAP).
    The Sea-System Infrastructure Innovation Project, being led by Kyuquot
SEAfoods Ltd., will encompass the design, engineering and testing of new
system components that will allow the infrastructure of existing net-pen
fin-fish aquaculture operations in B.C. to be modified so that the organic and
inorganic wastes they produce can be used as an economical and environmentally
friendly food source to grow a range of other species including oysters,
scallops and sea cucumbers on a commercial scale. Incorporating the company's
sustainable ecological aquaculture (SEA) systems into existing fin-fish net
pens, as envisioned by the project participants, would significantly reduce
the deposit of organic waste on the ocean floor below salmon farms. It would
also create additional employment in coastal communities and a new and
nutritious product for salmon farmers.
    The new technology would require fin-fish growers to select and produce a
balanced and complementary combination of other species that have the capacity
to extract and use the organic and inorganic waste produced through their
fin-fish aquaculture operations from the surrounding water.
    As part of the innovation project, Kyuquot SEAfoods Ltd. and its project
partners - Pacific SEA-Lab Research Society, the University of Victoria,
Aquaport, Coastland Fabricating and Design Ltd., and EA Energy Alternatives
Ltd. - will also explore the use of sea power to provide a green energy source
for its growing systems and the new components developed through the
initiative, further enhancing their environmental performance. The project
goal is to develop a SEAsystem and related components that can be incorporated
into existing net-pen fin-fish aquaculture sites and operated on a commercial
scale, while accommodating different handling schedules for the different
species being produced, and without hindering existing fin-fish production.
This project received $250,000 in federal funding.
    The B.C. Centre for Aquatic Health Sciences will coordinate and assist in
the development of additional salmon-farming-related innovation projects in
B.C. by providing support and advice to industry on a range of topics,
including production efficiencies and cost reductions; the value of new
species to the aquaculture industry; and enhanced environmental performance.
As part of this work, it will identify and connect industry with key subject
matter experts, networks, resources and stakeholders to support the
development of collaborative partnerships and innovation projects; provide a
framework for international and national scientific exchanges to occur on
aquaculture; review and inform industry of global innovation practices; and
help to move innovation projects from the pilot stage to the point of being
ready to implement on a commercial scale. The project, which will receive
federal funding of $250,000, has the potential to significantly enhance the
economic performance of B.C. fish farms. This work will include moving ahead
with a pilot project to develop an effective test and standard procedures to
assess the readiness of smolts to enter and adapt to salt water, which could
help industry to achieve increased growth and survival rates. The test will be
provided to industry to pilot further, and assess its economic value. In
addition, the Centre will pilot a quantitative test to detect infectious
hematopoietic necrosis virus (IHNV). This virus, which is endemic to the
coastal waters of B.C., poses a significant economic threat to the aquaculture
industry in B.C. The rapid identification of viral outbreaks would allow the
industry to implement containment measures to reduce its spread and minimize
potential losses.
    The final aquaculture innovation project is being led by the B.C. Salmon
Farmers Association, which will see the association import New Zealand's
expertise in cryopreservation techniques, and transfer it to the fish farming
industry in B.C. The project will encompass staff and technician training, as
well as pilot and commercial application of the technology in the province.
All of the main B.C. salmon growers will be involved in the initiative,
including three Atlantic salmon producers and one chinook producer. It is
anticipated that the project will reduce operating costs and enhance the
performance of brood stock, which will improve the economic performance of the
aquaculture industry in B.C. The key expected outcomes of the project, which
will receive $24,000 in federal funding, also include a higher survival of
fertilized eggs, a stronger selection of male salmon and a better use of these
fish in breeding programs.

    
    /NOTE TO PHOTO EDITORS: A photo accompanying this release is available on
    the CNW Photo Network and archived at http://photos.newswire.ca.
    Additional archived images are also available on the CNW Photo Archive
    website at http://photos.newswire.ca. Images are free to accredited
    members of the media/
    





For further information:

For further information: Rita Hatfield, Courtney Constituency Office,
(250) 338-9381; Michelle Imbeau, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Pacific Region,
(604) 666-2872

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FISHERIES AND OCEANS CANADA, PACIFIC REGION

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