CANADA - The Honourable Keith Ashfield, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, announced funding this week for four innovative Vancouver Island aquaculture projects, including a project to develop closed-containment technology. In total, the four projects will receive over $925,000 (CAN) in federal government funding.
"Our government is committed to enhancing the global competitiveness, economic prospects and environmental performance of Canada's aquaculture industry. The industry is developing new technologies that will make our country a world leader in aquaculture and create jobs and opportunities here at home," said Minister Ashfield. "We are proud that our government can play a role in supporting this innovation."
The federal funding announced today, and provided through the Aquaculture Innovation and Market Access Program (AIMAP), is supporting two finfish and two shellfish aquaculture projects in B.C. These projects are designed to help the industry expand its market potential through new technologies.
The companies receiving project funding are: the 'Namgis First Nation (near Port McNeill), Pfizer Animal Health (Saanichton), Fanny Bay Oysters (Union Bay) and Maplestar Seafood (Nanoose Bay).
AIMAP is intended to support innovation and sustainability in the aquaculture industry across Canada. Nationally, aquaculture production has increased four-fold in the past 20 years. Approximately 70 per cent of all Canadian aquaculture products are sold to foreign markets, and the world increasingly depends on aquaculture as an essential source of nutrition. In fact, globally, half of all fish and seafood consumed is now farmed.
"The B.C aquaculture industry currently provides an estimated 6,000 jobs and over $224 million in wages for British Columbians," said Minister Ashfield. "As Canada's aquaculture industry continues to expand, the Government of Canada is committed to supporting responsible growth that provides economic benefits to Canadians."
Four projects in British Columbia have received over $925,000 in funding from Fisheries and Oceans Canada through the Aquaculture Innovation and Market Access Program (AIMAP).
The 'Namgis First Nation, located outside Port McNeill, B.C., has received over $800,000 in AIMAP funding to develop a commercial pilot facility to determine the technological and commercial viability of producing Atlantic salmon for human consumption in a land-based, closed-containment re-circulating aquaculture system. The project design represents a commercial scale module that can be incorporated as a stand-alone unit into a much larger facility.
Pfizer Animal Health, located in Saanichton, B.C., has received $32,000 in AIMAP funding to continue its sea lice vaccine project. This funding will be used to take existing research results through the regulatory steps that are commonly required for this type of drug development project.
Fanny Bay Oyster Company, located in Union Bay, B.C., has received $63,000 in AIMAP funding to adopt technology that will crush large volumes of oyster waste shells in an efficient and cost-effective manner. This will reduce the overall volume of waste, ultimately producing particles of different sizes that can be utilized by a variety of potential markets. Shell-crushing machines will be evaluated and tested by Fanny Bay Oyster Company, which will aid in the company's decision on the final equipment purchase.
Maplestar Seafood, located in Nanoose Bay, B.C., has received $31,000 in AIMAP funding to develop an innovative, off-bottom, suspended net for culturing geoducks. This project will address lack of bottom tenure and create a shorter maturation period.