Canadian Government Supports Land-Based Salmon Farm Plan
On January 9, the Canadian government gave $800,000 (CA) to a fish farm proposal, designed to grow commercial volumes of salmon in tanks on land.
“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 Federal Fisheries Minister Keith Ashfield, speaking in Campbell River.
Canadian Fisheries Minister, Keith Ashfield, gave almost $1 million to four Vancouver Island aquaculture companies and announced the acquisition of six new Vancouver Island-built vessels that will allow the Department of Fisheries & Oceans (DFO) to monitor fish farms and enforce regulations. Three of the new vessels will be used by DFO staff for auditing and monitoring fish farms. Three will be used for enforcement and compliance inspections. DFO took over regulation of fish farms from the province one year ago.
’Namgis First Nation, which is about to start construction on the $7-million K’udas closed containment pilot project on reserve land near Port McNeill, was handed the lion’s share of the federal grants. ’Namgis, working in partnership with Save Our Salmon Marine Conservation Foundation and Tides Canada, is hoping to have the pilot project in operation by fall, Chief Bill Cranmer said. “We want the facilities ready for the first salmon smolts in September,” he said. The aim is to save wild salmon, Cranmer said.
“We will be doing Atlantic salmon, mainly because the salmon farmers have been saying they can’t be grown on land because it’s too expensive,” Cranmer said. “We are trying to prove it can be done economically and sustainably.”
Other groups are working on closed-containment projects, but this is the only one looking at commercial-scale production, Cranmer said. The pilot project should produce 260 to 290 tons of salmon a year and, once production ramps up, the aim will be about 1,000 tons a year, he said.