James Lunney, M.P. announces funding for aquaculture projects

    NANAIMO, BC, Feb. 27 /CNW/ - Two innovation projects designed to boost
the productivity and economic performance of the shellfish aquaculture
industry in B.C. have received more than $163,000 in federal funding through
the Government of Canada's Aquaculture Innovation and Market Access Program
    "Our Government's goal with AIMAP is to encourage the aquaculture sector
to develop and adopt innovative technologies and management techniques," said
Nanaimo-Alberni MP James Lunney, who made the announcement on behalf of
Fisheries and Oceans Canada's Minister Gail Shea. "When we invest in our
aquaculture industry, we are investing in improved environmental performance
and productivity, as well as sustainable jobs in British Columbia today and
for years to come."
    Under AIMAP, the federal 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.
    These two recent AIMAP projects, being led by Vancouver Island
University's (VIU) Centre for Shellfish Research and Below Sea Level Oyster
Co., include work to develop a prototype for a new shellfish raft design, test
it, and introduce it to the industry at large; and to test a predatory Red
Rock crab deterrent method that is non-lethal and cost-effective.
    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.



    Two innovation projects designed to enhance the production capacity and
environmental performance of the aquaculture industry in British Columbia have
received more than $163,000 in funding from the Government of Canada through
its Aquaculture Innovation and Market Access Program (AIMAP).
    Vancouver Island University (VIU)'s Centre for Shellfish Research,
together with the B.C. Shellfish Growers Association, received $120,000 from
AIMAP to conduct an eight-month long project, using state-of-the-art materials
and techniques, to develop a prototype for a new high-quality shellfish raft.
The raft design currently in use at most sites is susceptible to loss or
destruction during severe wind storms, which are a common occurrence on B.C.'s
coast, and more durable rafts are desperately needed by the industry. The
Centre for Shellfish Research expects that a new raft design, using
globally-tested methods as a reference, will perform better than the current
Styrofoam/lumber design, and will improve the industry's economic
profitability and environmental sustainability. The physical assembly,
deploying and testing of the new raft design will occur at the Deep Bay Field
Station in Baynes Sound. A successful raft design would then be shared with
the industry at-large.
    The second project is being led by Below Sea Level Oyster Co. Intertidal
shellfish farms have found that predation by Red Rock crab, at some sites, can
have significant effects on shellfish productivity. To date, varying success
has been achieved in deterring Red Rock crab from feeding on shellfish grown
in intertidal shellfish farms. In order to develop a method to manage these
natural predators in a non-lethal manner, while protecting the shellfish
crops, the project proponent has received $43,625 to test the use of four
styles of U-shaped barrier systems. This project will test the success of the
system in getting crabs to exit a barrier that leads away from the seeded
shellfish farm area into deeper habitat. The main objectives of the study
include: to determine the effectiveness of a crab barrier as a non-lethal
predator control measure; to identify the correct size, shape and material for
an effective crab barrier system (so that crabs do not climb out of the
barrier); and to use cost-effective materials readily available to growers
that also require little maintenance. Finding a sustainable and innovative
solution to predator management is a regional priority for the shellfish
aquaculture industry.

    /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: Michelle Imbeau, Fisheries and Oceans Canada,
Pacific Region, (604) 666-2872; Leri Davies, Fisheries and Oceans Canada,
Pacific Region, (604) 666-8675

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