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Newfoundland to become major Atlantic salmon producer


November 23, 2015
By Myron Roth

The government of the Province of Newfoundland  and Labrador, Canada, has come out solidly behind the rapid advancement of Atlantic salmon aquaculture by committing $358,000 to sea lice research and up to $45 million to double the current production in the province.

 A memorandum of understanding (MOU) has been signed between the provincial government and Grieg Newfoundland As to build a $75 million hatchery and nursery facility at Placentia Bay on the southeast coast of the province and produce 7 million smolt per year. Eleven sea cage farms are also planned to grow and harvest 33,000 tonnes annually for a total investment of more than $250 million by the company.

 Grieg Newfoundland AS is part of the Norwegian Grieg Seafood ASA, headquartered in Bergen, Norway that has salmon farming operations in Norway, British Columbia, Canada, and Scotland.

 According to the press release the hatchery will be the largest in Canada and one of the largest in the world. The project is expected to create roughly 325 direct jobs.

 The province will commit up to $45 million as part of a 20-year agreement. “This project will take our aquaculture industry to a while new level and make us a major global player,” said Vaughn Granter, Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture.

 A formal agreement is expected to be reached early in 2016 and will stipulate the use of local labour, equipment and supplies where available and local training and academic institutions for training and research.

 Additionally, a $358,000 investment from the province is targeted at alternative methods for sea lice removal using cleaner fish, specifically cunners and lumpfish, which are native to the province’s coastal waters. The Newfoundland Aquaculture Industry Association has identified sea lice control as a priority for the industry.

 The total project value is $991,000. The research will take place at Cold Ocean Salmon, a subsidiary of Cooke Aquaculture, at a facility in St. Alban’s.

 “Research and development is a key building block of the aquaculture sector. Building on the strong collaborative relationships among academic researchers, business and government, this project will enhance capacity in our province and help salmon farmers overcome the fish health challenges posed by sea lice, one of salmon’s natural parasites” stated Darin King, Minister Responsible for the Research & Development Corporation in a press release.