Liza Mayer

Liza Mayer

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The ability to adapt and innovate is crucial in ensuring the future of the marine ingredients industry, said IFFO’s President Eduardo Goycoolea at the opening of IFFO’s 58th Annual Conference in Rome on Monday.

Goycoolea speaks amidst renewed pressure for the industry to embrace more sustainable practices, and the push for aquaculture to reduce its reliance on marine-derived fish feed ingredients.

“As an industry you have adapted your products to ensure the success of the aquaculture industry, but as resources continue to become scarcer, more innovation will be needed. There are huge opportunities in producing further new marine ingredients from our oceans, your future is in your hands, be true to your name,” he told participants.

Dr George Chamberlain, President, Global Aquaculture Alliance, said marine ingredients are “the gold standard”  but agreed with Goycoolea  that “supply needs to increase through by-products and the development of new innovative sources.”

The IFFO conference wraps up Wednesday.
Cargill’s efforts to develop a new type of canola oil for use in fish feed has come to fruition with the launch of Latitude, a fish oil alternative that provides long chain Omega-3 fatty acids for aquafeed.

The feed producer launched the product today, but it will be commercially available only in 2020 in Canada and Chile. “Latitude is 100-percent traceable since it manages the supply chain from the canola seed to crop cultivation and oil production—and industry-first for a product of this kind,” Cargill said in a statement.

Canola is a vegetable oil derived from rapeseed, which is rich in the marine fatty acid DHA. Researchers at the Norwegian Institute of Food, Fisheries and Aquaculture Research (Nofima) said preliminary results of their study show Omega-3 oil derived from canola is safe to use as ingredient in salmon feed.

“The growth in aquaculture production brings an increase in demand for Omega-3s,” said Willie Loh, vice president of market development for Cargill’s global edible oils business in North America. “With Latitude, Cargill is combining our aquaculture expertise and canola innovation capabilities to help meet that demand using plant-based Omega-3s in aquafeed, instead of relying on fish oil from over farmed oceans. Latitude will help relieve some of the pressure on wild caught fish, while delivering a reliable Omega-3 product to aquafeed manufacturers – a win-win for the industry.”
Maryland has increased public access to information on proposed shellfish tenures by posting pending commercial shellfish lease applications on the state government website.

The new set of online tools is aimed at helping educate and engage the public on proposed aquaculture lease applications. The tools include a dynamic database and email notification system managed by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.

The tools were launched following consultation with aquaculturists, commercial watermen, community and county leaders, homeowners associations and others throughout the Chesapeake Bay. “During our state-wide listening sessions, we heard time and again that community leaders wanted to be alerted about proposed aquaculture projects earlier in the permitting process,” Fishing and Boating Services Director David Blazer said. “The new early notification system will provide near real-time data on all future aquaculture lease applications as well as information on location, status and type.”

Commercial shellfish aquaculture lease applications received since January 1, 2018, and determined to be complete, will appear on the database. “An application’s designation as ‘complete’ does not mean that it is approved. All proposed leases are subject to change throughout the permitting process,” the Department of Natural Resources said in a statement.
Canada’s new federal minister responsible for regulating the aquaculture industry on Thursday indicated radical change is coming in the way Canada manages Atlantic salmon farming.

In 2010, management of aquaculture became the responsibility of the federal government as per a Supreme Court decision (Morton v. British Columbia) in 2009. The significance of that decision was that it declared that fish (and shellfish) farming was in fact a “fishery” and gave exclusive authority to the Government of Canada for the management of that "fishery." Prior to 2010 provinces were responsible for managing most to all of aspects of the industry, including licensing and regulating the industry around production, animal health, compliance and enforcement.

At the launch of the International Year of the Salmon in Vancouver, BC on Thursday, Minister Jonathan Wilkinson said that is about to change. He said the government is looking at area-based management of the industry, which will include “tenuring decisions” on farm sites in the province of British Columbia.

“This is a new departure with respect to how we are actually addressing aquaculture going forward. It is also an area where expect to work collaboratively with our partners in the province and with First Nations communities because it is obviously a critical issue for many of them,” Wilkinson said.

BC Premier John Horgan said the area-based tenuring that Minister Wilkinson is advocating is a “sea change in how we look at issuing tenures in our oceans.”

“From the provincial perspective we have a modest responsibility for anchoring tenures. About 10 percent of the activity is the responsibility of the province, (but) the remainder of what happens in the water column, the fish, the animals, what they eat, what medicines they require, are a federal responsibility.

“Minister Wilkinson and I are working cooperatively on two orders of government to ensure that when we’re talking to communities, when we’re working face to face, nation to nation with indigenous peoples as well as with industry, that we’re very candid with what we’d like to see with the industry, we’re harmonizing the tenures now between federal and provincial governments. These are very positive steps forward but we’ve got a lot more work to do,” he said.

Wilkinson has not indicated how the new management approach will look like as discussions are still in progress.

Salmon faming is a contentious issue in some First Nation communities in BC. Beginning June 2022, applications for new or renewal of fish farm licences in the province will have to meet two new criteria before the province approves them: consent from local First Nations that own the territories, and a stipulation from the federal Fisheries Department that the farm won’t endanger BC wild salmon.

Bob Chamberlain, the elected chief councillor of Kwikwasut’inuxw Haxwa’mis First Nation in the Broughton Archipelago said his council “is now getting closer to finalizing a set of recommendations” for a transition plan for the industry in the Broughton archipelago.

He said they have been exploring “a transition plan for the industry that is not going to further impact the wild salmon, but at the same time is respectful of the overall operations.”

“We feel confident that with the support of the provincial government and the federal government that we’ll be able to arrive at a set of recommendations for an agreed-upon transition plan for the industry,” he said.



UK retailer Marks & Spencer has launched an interactive website that answers one of the questions often asked by today’s consumers: where is my food sourced?

On the site, consumers can find out where the seafood it sells comes from; the farming or capture method used and other sustainability-related information for every farm or fishery.

The retailer offers a wide range of products -- from fish fillets to pre-made salads, sandwiches and ready meals – that feature 11 farmed species from eight countries. Ninety-seven percent of the suppliers are third-party certified.  The type of farming method they used is also indicted, for instance net pen farming or suspended rope grown, and each type is explained to the consumer.

For wild catch, the website lists 47 marine species across 71 fisheries, accounting for every kind of seafood that M&S uses in its product lines.

“Transparency is an important part of the trust that our customers and stakeholders put in us - that’s why we’ve published this smart tool which lays bare our whole fish supply chain, wherever it is in the world, and however it is fished or farmed,” said Hannah Macintyre, the company’s marine biologist.
Marine Harvest Canada (MHC) has appointed Dr Diane Morrison as managing director.

Morrison is a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and has 25 years’ experience in salmon production. She has led Marine Harvest Canada’s Fish Health and Food Safety Department in Western Canada for 18 years.
“I am very passionate about our business, the health of both wild and farm-raised fish, and about the great team we have at Marine Harvest Canada. I am excited to share my experience and build a sustainable future together for our local communities,” said
Morrison, who took over the role from Vincent Erenst in October.

Morrison has been a resident of Campbell River, BC for the past 25 years. She earned her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree at Ontario Veterinary College and has served on multiple research teams publishing on aquaculture and wild salmon in British Columbia, said MHC.
Cooke Aquaculture has named Claire Ryan as director of public relations.

Ryan has extensive experience in community relations and public engagement. She was formerly the manager of public affairs of the Canadian Automobile Association – Atlantic, and held roles with Enterprise Saint John, National Public Relations, and MT&L Public Relations Ltd.

“Her background in corporate communications, community engagement, and social media strategy will support Cooke’s overall mission and values as a sustainable seafood leader,” said Joel Richardson, vice president of public relations at Cooke Aquaculture.

Ryan is a local resident of St John and holds a masters degree in Communications Management from McMaster University. “Our company’s success is driven by our dynamic, highly-skilled and innovative management team, supported by dedicated employees who live in coastal communities and contribute to the local area’s economy and sense of community. Claire has a keen interest in working with our teams across the company to help share the Cooke story. We are confident that she will do a marvelous job,” said Richardson.



North Island College (NIC) in British Columbia is launching a new Aquaculture Technician certificate in January 2019. The program is designed to equip students with technical skills to work with a variety of species in BC’s growing aquaculture industry.

The four-month certificate is the first of two new aquaculture offerings at NIC, developed in response to an industry call for workers with broader field skills.

“We heard from industry about the need for more advanced technician training and education to fill current and projected vacancies,” said Cheryl O’Connell, NIC’s dean of trades and technical programs. “This new certificate prepares students for entry-level positions and provides an excellent foundation for further studies.”

NIC has offered Level 1 Aquaculture Technician Training since 2014. The new certificate includes Technician Level 1 training, with an updated curriculum, more occupational health and safety training and the ability to ladder into BC’s first advanced production-training program, the Aquaculture Technician diploma, scheduled to begin in Fall 2019.

Renowned aquaculture researcher and educator, Dr Jesse Ronquillo, developed the programs’ curriculum in consultation with the BC Shellfish Growers Association and the BC Salmon Farmers Association.

“The growing interest in aquaculture around the world is creating a need for technical training and education,” said Ronquillo. “These programs prepare students for a range of industry jobs, from hatchery to farm-site work. The certificate trains students in a variety of aquaculture species including finfish, shellfish and algal production techniques.”

Both aquaculture programs will take place at NIC’s Campbell River campus, now undergoing a $17.6-million expansion and renovation. "The planned facility will enable students to raise a variety of species through various development stages,” said Ronquillo.

Farmed salmon is BC’s top exported agrifood and seafood commodity, contributing $1.5 billion towards the BC economy between 2013 and 2016. Geoduck clam exports rose 50 percent from 2016 to 2017 and oyster exports have increased annually since 2010, data from BC Agriculture and Seafood Statistics 2017 show.
The Provincial Government of Newfoundland and Labrador is investing around $500,000 (C$588,000) to boost employment opportunities in the province’s aquaculture industry.

The fund, which was disbursed to the Newfoundland Aquaculture Industry Association (NAIA), will be used to develop “labor market information tools and products.”

“The development of labor market tools specific to aquaculture will further help build the industry and create the jobs needed to support a bright future for Newfoundlanders and Labradorians,” said Al Hawkins, Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Labour, who announced the grant at NAIA’s Cold Harvest Conference and Trade Show in St John’s on September 26.

The funding comes at a time when the Canadian aquaculture industry is suffering from a labor shortage. Latest data from the Canadian Agriculture Human Resources Council indicates that there is an 11-percent vacancy rate in the industry and millions of dollars in lost revenue because of the labor shortage.

The initiative builds on over $396,000 provided to NAIA to support the development of an Aquaculture Recruitment and Retention Strategy.

“Through this initiative with the provincial government we will be positioned to succeed in providing additional year-round employment to dedicated farmers of the sea in rural coastal communities,” said Mark Lane, Executive Director, NAIA.
Growing more of seafood locally and growing the jobs and food security that come with it are critical to “chip away” at the United States’ $15-billion seafood trade deficit, according to Chris Oliver, head of NOAA Fisheries.

“It’s the perfect time to highlight NOAA’s larger ‘Blue Economy’ initiative as an important guiding force for our seafood future,” Oliver wrote on NOAA’s website, in celebration of October as National Seafood Month.

“Despite the historic success of our wild-capture fisheries, we import almost 90 percent of the seafood we consume, at least half of which is farmed. We would like to shift that dynamic and farm more seafood here in the United States,” he said.

He said aquaculture is a growing priority for the agency and for Congress and both are actively promoting and expanding marine aquaculture.

He cited a number of actions that support the advancement of seafood farming in the US, including NOAA’s work with US Senator Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) for the introduction of  the "AQUAA Act" legislation (short for Advancing the Quality and Understanding of American Aquaculture). The legislation, if passed, is expected to streamline the permitting process in aquaculture and fund industry R&D efforts.
Aquaculture development in the waters of Gulf of Mexico will have to wait further after a federal judge in New Orleans ruled that NOAA does not have regulatory authority to regulate aquaculture in the area. NOAA said it is considering whether to appeal the ruling.

“It is important to note that this ruling is not a prohibition on marine aquaculture, either nationally or in the Gulf of Mexico, and we will continue to work with stakeholders through existing policies and legislation to increase aquaculture permitting efficiency and predictability,” said Jennie Lyons, NOAA Public Affairs Deputy Director.

But uncertainty and lawsuits around who’s in charge has kept businesses from applying for permits. It will be three years this January 2019 since NOAA opened the federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico to fish farming. It will allow up to 20 industrial facilities and collectively 64 million pounds of fish to be produced each year in giant net cages in the Gulf of Mexico.

“Given conflicting court decisions and the desire for regulatory certainty, NOAA supports congressional efforts to clarify the agency’s statutory authority to regulate aquaculture,” said Lyons.





The newly elected chief of the Wei Wai Kum First Nation in Campbell River, British Columbia is noncommittal about the future of salmon farms operating in his people’s traditional territories but signalled his openness to dialogue with the industry.

Chris Roberts, who was elected as Chief Councillor in April, told members of the BC Salmon Farmers Association at the Seafood West Summit on Friday that there’s a lot of work to be done in terms of engagement.

“Dialogue is required and that’s going to happen under my leadership with my council. “We’re certainly willing to engage and sit down when we can. It’s a highly politically contentious issue in my community and being an elected community leader I want to assure my people that I’ve got their best interest. But I’m open minded,” he said.

Beginning June 2022, British Columbia will only grant tenures to fish farm companies that have agreements in place with the First Nation territories they operate in or propose to operate in, and who have satisfied Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) that their operations will not impact wild salmon.

Roberts said he was glad to find out from a wild salmon summit he attended the previous week that wild salmon face “a myriad of things,” such as changing ocean conditions, upstream developments, sewage seepage. “It was reassuring to see that that conversation includes other things and not just the salmon farming industry being the ‘culprit’,” he said.  

He acknowledged he will need some time to educate himself on the science and practices that have improved within the aquaculture industry. He also said he is confident the industry will continue on this path of improvement. “But our First Nations people, some of them firmly believe that the impacts of your sector are significant.

“Let’s walk down a pathway together to either validate or dispel, to move forward based on facts of what’s happening in the ocean… We are pleased to sit down with the industry operating in our territories, their agencies such as the BCSFA to explore what it is that needs to be done to achieve a common ground and how we would all work together,” he said.
2019 has been declared the International Year of the Salmon.

Launched by the North Pacific Anadromous Fish Commission and the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization (NASCO), the project sets out to protect salmon by bringing countries together to share knowledge, raise public awareness and take action.

An expedition aboard a Russian ship from Vladivostok to Dutch Harbor is one of the project's highlights.  Dr Dick Beamish, Emeritus Scientist, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, told participants Friday at the conclusion of Seafood West Summit 2018 in Campbell River, BC that the expedition could result in new research that will make the discoveries scientists need to actively forecast salmon abundance. “The expedition will make discoveries that will impact how we do salmon research in the future,” he said.

Beamish will be joined by 17 other scientists in the privately-funded exhibition.


An initiative designed to give local communities a powerful say in the sustainable development of the farmed salmon industry has been launched by the BC Salmon Farmers Association (BCSFA).

As part of the program, the association conducted a series of dialogues this past winter in partnership with the Headwaters Strategy Group, where community members voiced their support, their concerns and vision for the industry’s future. Those sentiments are captured in the newly launched website, www.sharing salmon.com.

“We realized early on that any success in developing greater literacy and awareness comes from the values in communities. What holds communities together has the prospect of creating common ground. We found a way to determine what those values are,” said Stewart Muir of Headwaters.

Through community engagement, Muir and colleague Vanessa Scott discovered that the people’s top three values were ecological sustainability and ocean stewardship; Science and academic research; and way of life continuity for future generations. The team also found that people recognize that the salmon aquaculture industry offers opportunities for advancing the cause of wild salmon. “We discovered that as we asked people if they will be part of our salmon protectors program they were more than willing to,” but “this is not what the public is hearing,” Muir said.

Everyone now has the opportunity to add their voice to the conversation and share their stories via the Sharing Salmon website and other social media channels. “We’re on Facebook, Twitter, we’re responding to the questions, building it brick by brick based on the values of the community. It will take more time, but we’re succeeding,”says Muir.

Humane production practices can play a key role in expanding the market for farmed fish and seafood in the US but it is vital that consumers are aware of them, says a study.

“Adopting humane practices in aquaculture and avoiding the use of antibiotics directly addresses consumer concerns about eating more fish and seafood. Humane slaughter practices may even make farmed fish and seafood more attractive than wild-caught choices,” says Arlin Wasserman of food industry consultant Changing Tastes, which co-authored the study with market research firm Datassential.

The study, Humane Aquaculture: Opportunities on the Plate, says humane production practices influence the choices of both the US consumer and also individuals responsible for menu and purchasing decisions in the US foodservice industry.

The study found that half of consumers and half of decision makers on what goes on the menu are more likely to purchase fish and seafood that is humanely harvested. More than half of all consumers and decision makers also believe that humanely produced fish and seafood is likely to be higher quality, taste better and have better texture.

“Increasing the attractiveness of farmed fish and seafood can create meaningful opportunities over the next several years,” says Wasserman.   

In an earlier study, Changing Tastes found that US consumers are on trend to reduce about 20 percent of beef consumption by 2025 because of animal welfare issues and antibiotic use. They plan to replace it with fish and seafood.

“US consumers now have the same concerns about eating fish and seafood, probably because of what they know about meat and poultry,”  says Marie Molde of Datassential.

Here are the other findings of The Humane Aquaculture study:

•    US consumers and decision makers are most aware and concerned about live slaughter and antibiotic use for both wild capture and farmed fish
•    Consumers are much less aware of other production practices, like stunning, transport, and clipping. Consumer and operator concern about humane treatment increases once they become aware of these practices

“While adopting humane practices and eliminating antibiotic use can improve the US market for fish and seafood, not making improvements may pose a risk to the industry’s reputation and the appeal of farmed fish and seafood,” Wasserman added.
In one of several new initiatives to develop more sustainable live feeds for hatchery fish, a Norwegian company has developed a product that makes use of what is deemed as a burden to fish farms and shellfish farms alike: barnacles.

The company, Planktonic AS of Norway, harvests barnacles from the ocean, extracts the eggs from inside the barnacles before they have the opportunity to start feeding, and then cryopreserves them. The cryopreservation process keeps them alive and disinfects them.  They are then packed into flasks. When this feed is to be used, it is thawed in seawater, and the barnacles then become "alive" again and therefore constitutes a natural feed for the juvenile fish.

Commercial trials earlier this year showed 50 percent larger bream juveniles and 75 percent larger bass, better survival and improved resistance, reported the Global Aquaculture Advocate.
The Newfoundland Aquaculture Industry Association (NAIA) is not too happy about the news that circulated on Sunday and Monday in both mainstream and trade media (not this publication) about “new proof” that fish farm escapees interbreed with wild salmon. When Aquaculture North America approached NAIA executive director Mark Lane to comment on the story first published by CBC News, Lane blasted the CBC News for irresponsible journalism, and the Atlantic Salmon Federation for fear mongering. In response to our questions, Lane provided to us the following statement:

It was with great interest and concern that I read an article in the CBC News written by Leigh Ann Power, Host of the Central Morning Show in Newfoundland and Labrador, titled “New proof that fish farm escapees interbreed with wild salmon: DFO” dated September 23, 2018.

When I opened my browser I initially thought there was new research released that which I was unaware. At second glance though I realized that this was not “new news” but rather “old news” that was reported by the same media outlet in September 2016.

Let me be clear, as an industry we are concerned with any accidental escapes of farmed salmon into the environment. We invest millions of dollars to continually improve technology, innovation and farm practices to prevent escapes. To determine the interaction of escaped farm salmon on the environment we have fully collaborated with the researchers on this particular study and others conducted by Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) by providing fish and DNA material.

All suspected and confirmed escapes are reported to the regulatory authorities immediately; namely the provincial Department of Fisheries and Land Resources (FLR) and federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO). At a recent Code of Containment Committee meeting, comprised of industry, regulatory agencies, salmon conservation groups and First Nations we voluntarily reduced the threshold of reporting from 100 fish to one.

At a recent Pan-Atlantic Code of Containment meeting held in New Brunswick, following a cross jurisdictional analysis, an independent consultant concluded that this province has one of the most prescriptive and thorough Codes of Containment in Canada. Even then we as an industry continually work with stakeholders to improve this Code based on facts, science, latest technology and evolution of the industry.

In today’s world of the Internet of Things content and reports from media travel far and wide quickly. The story written by Leigh Ann Power, Host of the Central Morning Show in Newfoundland and Labrador titled “New proof that fish farm escapees interbreed with wild salmon: DFO” dated September 23, 2018, is almost two years old; this exact study was first reported on September 21, 2016 by CBC reporter Mark Quinn.

There is absolutely nothing new or newsworthy in this article. This is simply a repeat of information, some of which is stated inaccurately by the DFO Scientist and Mr. Steve Sutton.

Not surprising, Steve Sutton of the Atlantic Salmon Federation (ASF) capitalized on this non-news-worthy story, knowing full well that this study is not new as he was also featured in the September 21, 2016 story by Mark Quinn. Mr. Sutton should be ashamed of himself by preying on the unsuspecting public, spewing his and his association’s rhetoric, mistruths and fear mongering.

There is a Journalist Code of Ethics that requires efforts to verify all facts for accuracy. According to the Canadian Association of Journalists, “Accuracy is the moral imperative of journalists and news organizations, and should not be compromised, even by pressing deadlines of the 24-hour news cycle”.

Fairness by respecting the rights of all people in the news is also identified as a pillar of the Code of Ethics. According to the Canadian Association of Journalists media must “…give people, companies or organizations that are publicly accused or criticized opportunity to respond before we publish those criticisms or accusations. [The media] must make a genuine and reasonable effort to contact them, and if they decline to comment, we say so”.

Prior to the release of CBC News story, no one from the news outlet reached out to industry for comment or to confirm this as “new proof.” For the record, I am always available by phone 709-689-8536, by email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or through social media such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Instagram.

I am not arguing that escapes and interbreeding is not of concern to industry; it absolutely is. Escapes should never happen. However, when they do or developments arise related to industry then industry should be consulted to ensure balance as a requirement of the Journalist Code of Ethics.

There are many developments in the aquaculture industry that are current and news worthy; the acquisition of the former Kiewit ship yard in Marystown that will see a dormant facility revitalized as an aquaculture service centre as well as the recently approved Grieg NL project; both will provide year round jobs to the Burin Peninsula. Just today it was announced that Akva Group is entering into a supply and sales contract with Grieg NL Seafarms Ltd, the marine based operations of Grieg NL. According to Intrafish “Under the contract, Akva group, through its wholly owned Canadian subsidiary Akva Group North America Inc, will become exclusive supplier of feed systems and feed barges up to 2026”. All of which are due to be built locally. As well last week, a $50-million private expansion was announced for the Northern Harvest Smolt hatchery in Stephenville resulting in 24 full time employment opportunities.

NAIA is celebrating 25 years and this week will host its largest Cold Harvest Conference and Trade Show in history with more than 400 international delegates and 50 exhibitors. There will be many current newsworthy stories that will develop over the next several days and we would love the opportunity to share with the media and their audiences. If media are interested in attending Cold Harvest 2018 complimentary media passes are available.

Cermaq says it has transferred smolt into its new closed containment system in Horsvågen, Norway, which features a strong and flexible fabric that “gives security against fish escape.”

The fabric, the Biobrane Aqua 2050, has been in the use by a salmon producer in Norway since 2014, but it is “new to us,” said Cermaq.

In this particular closed farming technology, “water will be pumped into the pen from 13 meters depth, preventing sea lice from entering the pen. The tarp wall is made of strong and flexible composite, which minimizes escape risk. This is the world’s largest closed cage using flexible walls,” it said. The closed containment system in Horsvågen has a production capacity of 400 tons.

“There are still a lot of things we don’t know about closed containment systems. We see that closed containment systems in the ocean can play an important role in the aquaculture industry in the future, but it still requires further development,” says Harald Takle, R&D Manager Farming Technology in Cermaq Group.
The government of Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, has come out solidly behind Grieg NL Seafarms Ltd’s $250-million aquaculture project in the province, with Premier Dwight Ball announcing a $30-million government investment in the project.

The funding will be in the form of repayable loans.

Earlier this month, the project received final environmental approval, allowing construction to commence. Grieg NL aims to start operations in 2025.

While conservationists have expressed dismay over the government’s stake in an industry it’s supposed to be regulating, the executive director of the Newfoundland Aquaculture Industry Association, Mark Lane, says government investment in this case is no different than those in other sectors.

“If you look at oil and gas at its beginning 30 years ago in Newfoundland and Labrador, it took an equity investment from the provincial government to encourage people to come and try to produce oil here. Oil and gas is critical to Newfoundland and Labrador's economy today,” Lane tells Aquaculture North America (ANA).

“Those people who would tout that this is a conflict of interest, for the most part, are the same people who just simply don't support aquaculture,” he says.

Lane believes the province’s $30-million stake will return to the province in terms of jobs and taxes, and contribute to the GDP.  “And for every job that's created directly through the aquaculture project either on the farm or in the hatchery, there's two-and-a-half to three jobs in spin-off industries,” he says.

Grieg NL expects the project to create 440 direct jobs at the farm and its processing facilities as well as 380 jobs in related sectors.

The Placentia Bay project is believed to be the largest open net-pen salmon aquaculture development proposed in Canada but Lane stopped short of calling it a game-changer for the province as farmed salmon producer.

“I don't think it's a game changer. If you look at the companies we already have here -- Northern Harvest, Cooke Aquauculture, Cold Ocean Salmon and Marine Harvest through the acquisition of Northern Harvest -- they are already doing things right. They're doing it to the utmost standards that are found anywhere else in the world. I think Grieg's addition to what we're already doing in the province will get us closer to where we want to go, which is to double the salmon production in the province,” he says.

The province produces roughly 25,000 tonnes of farmed Atlantic salmon annually. “Grieg NL is a willing partner with the provincial Government in its strategy for advancing aquaculture with the goal of increasing salmon production to 50,000 metric tonnes annually, and doubling employment in an industry that is year-round and long-term,” the company said.
Aquaculture can grow by another $100 billion in less than a decade if three key challenges are addressed -- genetics, new husbandry technologies, and innovations in aquafeed, says Rabobank.

Citing the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) biennial report, The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture, Rabobank says aquaculture production reached $232 billion in first-value sales in 2016, which represents a growth of $100 billion from 2010.

The Dutch bank believes that another $100 billion can be achieved in less than a decade through modernization and professionalization of aquaculture, “while maintaining a strong respect for the environment and local communities.”

“Switching to more technology-driven and efficient intensive farming technologies has enabled fish farmers to increase production in the last few years. Improved genetics, new husbandry technologies, and innovations in aquafeed will be the three key factors determining aquaculture’s future,” it said.
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