Taking the company from good to great by attracting a world-class workforce, and keeping them, is at the core of a new role at Cermaq Canada.

“Cermaq Canada has a desire to build a world class organization; we are good at what we do. We want to be great. That is done with world-class people in aquaculture,” says Shannan Brown, who was appointed to the new role of People and Culture director in October.

“As the company has advanced in many areas and is now guided by a global strategy, the human resources function has advanced as well,” says Brown, who was HR manager at Cermaq Canada for 4.5 years. “The HR manager title was changed to reflect this future-focused strategy work. This strategic view is about all aspects of our employees, future candidates, too. Plus to consider the environment that our employees work in so that we have a commonly held group of values and beliefs - that is the culture part (of the title).”

Brown adds that commitment to sustainable aquaculture and to First Nations is crucial for Cermaq. “In my role that commitment would include a strategy for the recruitment and retention of First Nations,” she says.
An award that champions businesses for their contribution in helping “shape Canada’s economic landscape” has named Cooke Aquaculture Inc of Blacks Harbour, New Brunswick as a finalist.

The 6th Private Business Growth Award by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and Grant Thornton LLP recognizes 10 of Canada’s best private businesses that have “completed outstanding achievements in strategic, sustainable and holistic growth.”

Selected by an eight-person jury, the Top 10 Finalists were chosen based on a range of categories including innovation, market development, people and culture, strategic leadership and improvement in financial measures.

“Each of the Top 10 Finalists possesses a like-minded commitment to hard work, passion, and tenacity which wholly contributes to the strength and sustainability of the Canadian economy,” said Kevin Ladner, CEO and Executive Partner, Grant Thornton. “These nominated businesses demonstrate a true devotion to the success of their local communities, which is worthy of recognition. I wish the best of luck to the Top 10 Finalists at the upcoming ceremony (on November 28).”
Cooke is the only aquaculture entity and the only seafood company among the Top 10. “Celebrating our business accomplishments is important – but we are a great company because of our great people. Their hard work and dedication have made our family’s group of companies a success,” said Glenn Cooke, CEO, Cooke Aquaculture Inc.
Adrian Southern has written a how-to book for the small-scale aquaponic farmer.  Southern, who runs Raincoast Aquaponics in the Cowichan valley north of Victoria, British Columbia, has developed an aquaponics farm designed to turn a profit with one or two operators and a combined time of under 40 hours a week.  He is now imparting that knowledge to others.

The Aquaponic Farmer, co-written with Whelm King, distills five years of learning from operating Raincoast Aquaponics. The book is not about adding a few tilapia below the grow table of tomato plants; rather, it is designed for small-scale, commercial operators, Southern says.

He designed a custom system suited to temperate climates. “Our goal was to create a model system and assess its technical feasibility, its economic viability and prove that it works,” he says.  The cooler temperatures support the choice to raise salmonids.  “Rainbow trout fry are readily available, they thrive in cooler water and are a familiar product for my direct-sale customers,” Southern says. Nutrients from the trout support a 52-week production of leafy greens, primarily lettuce.

With an investment of between $100,000 and $200,000 (USD) in a 36-by-120-ft greenhouse installation, a sole operator can produce 80,000 lettuce plants and 750 rainbow trout (weighing roughly 1kg each) per year, for an average gross return of just under $2,000 a week, Southern maintains.  

Trout are housed in three 8-by-3-ft circular tanks that Southern sources from Pentair.  Plants grow in three deep water culture tray systems, each with twin 86-by-4-ft troughs that are built on-site.
The 304-page book guides the reader through the process, from selecting a suitable site through to harvesting and selling the crops. Chapters cover design, and instructions on building the system, raising fish, producing plants, diseases and pests, and standard operating procedures.  There is also a chapter on writing a business plan.  “Important” boxes emphasize critical points of each chapter.

Southern is developing an on-line course with his educator wife.  “I almost wish I’d left something out of the book that I could include as new material in the course,” he quips.  They are planning to offer courses at Raincoast’s facility to give students hands-on experience with an actual working system. Southern is also a consultant; he is working with system builders in British Columbia, Ontario, Washington State and Oregon.

“There is definitely a future in this,” says Southern. “I don’t come close to meeting the demand for local, sustainably raised fish and greens at my local farmers market.”
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.
Kansas City’s Nile Valley Aquaponics (NVA), the brainchild of urban and aquaponic farmer Dre Taylor, is a community greenhouse project that currently grows around 100,000 lbs of food per year, including tilapia.

The fish are fed naturally through a patented system that converts black soldier fly larvae to fish feed.

NVA is fundraising to create new facilities on the property to double food production and to create a model that can be imported to other areas.

“We provide access to healthy food, and foster community and economic development in an area known as a food desert,” says Taylor. “We’re teaching people to grow their own food, to eat something that’s local and to provide jobs in the community. With the new facility, we’re trying to build a franchiseable model that can be duplicated in other cities.”

Tony McGrail, project architect with design and engineering firm HOK, says he reached out to Taylor after reading about NVA and being impressed by Taylor’s story and his work.

“I thought, ‘wow, this guy is really putting the world on his shoulders in a rough, disadvantaged part of town, and is seemingly succeeding,” says McGrail.

HOK provided NVA with conceptual schematics and mock-ups for new facilities to be used in fundraising efforts. The design includes two greenhouses, one with fruit trees and a fishing pond, and the other for the waste-processing component. Rainwater will be collected in cisterns for various uses and electricity will be generated through a solar array and a wind turbine. A shipping container currently located on the site will be repurposed into a pop-up market to sell NVA’s produce.

Once fundraising is complete and the project is ready to move forward, HOK will develop full construction and engineering documents for the project and will serve in an advisory capacity during construction.

Taylor hopes that fundraising will be completed soon and the new facilities will be in operation by spring of 2019.
Norwegian company CageEye says its namesake acoustic listening device enables salmon farmers to make precise decisions in determining salmon feeding optimization and reduce feed waste as a result.

The system’s latest version is adapted to bigger rearing units. CageEye has real-time and history control panel that provides a good overview of fish behavior in real time and fishing density in the chosen feeding area. As it records a history of past feeds, the farmer can track the history of the fish’s response to previous feedings.

“In terms of analyzing fish feeding activity in a long-term perspective, there is really no competitor to echo sound data for understanding how the fish respond. Analysis of camera recording may of course be used, but this would be extremely tedious and the data will not be as good,” Ole Folkedal, researcher at the Institute of Marine Research in Bergen, told Aquaculture North America (ANA).

Since CageEye collects data of the depth the fish reside, it can also be used in sea lice prevention, says Folkedal. “The fish show strong preferences for light and temperature and change depth accordingly. When using submerged lamps for postponing sexual maturation, the depth position of lamps can be used to attract the fish deeper, and, thus, also avoid the parasites.”
An “escape-proof” net cage system will be installed in Grieg’s project in Newfoundland, Canada, the salmon farmer said.   
The net cage system, called Aqualine Midgard, has been touted by its developer as the “industry’s first escape-proof fish farming system.” Norwegian net cage system supplier Aqualine won the 2015 NHO Trøndelag Innovation Award for the product.
According to The Research Council of Norway, equipment failure or operational error are behind three out of four farmed salmon escapes, and two out of three escapes are due to holes in sea cage nets.

Aqualine CCO Stig Domaas Førre said the Midgard System has addressed common problems that make most net-cage systems susceptible to strong currents and winds. Midgard System nets are sewn by hand and are custom-made to suit the farm. Also included is a system of 10 coordinated winches along the surface of the cage, in order to make it easier for farmers to raise the cage when harvesting.

Førre says the system is escape-free when operated under the proper parameters. Obviously, escapes can happen if a system isn’t used or maintained properly, or in accidents, for instance, a boat crashing into the cage.

“Our product is extremely well-tested and documented. For all of these tests, we have not seen any sign of chaffing and there has not been any accidents with the system,” says Førre. “But a plane can fall down. It’s safe to fly and there are many regulations when you operate as an airliner that you have to be within. There are so many safety checks. But still, once in a while, a plane falls down.”
Kentucky State University is running a workshop on indoor marine shrimp farming on September 14 and 15 at the university's Harold R. Benson Research and Demonstration Farm at 1525 Mills Lane, Frankfort, Kentucky.

The interactive workshop will cover a wide range of topics, from the basics of indoor marine shrimp farming to the latest in technological innovations, research, regulations, post-larvae supply to marketing. It will feature a series of presentations and round table discussions with experts in the field and policymakers who help shape the future of shrimp farming in the US and globally.

Registration deadline is August 24 at

Registration fee is $25 per person.

For out-of-town participants, a limited number of hotel rooms are reserved at the Capital Plaza Hotel in Frankfort at the special rate of US$103 per night for September 13-14. Use code “Shrimp Workshop” when booking.

Contact Dr Andrew Ray for additional details or any questions at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
How a recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) works will be just one of the things students in North Carolina can learn through a mobile aquaculture lab being built in the state.

Project proponents North Carolina Sea Grant (NCSG) and Carteret Community College (CCC) expect the lab to promote aquaculture education, training and employment opportunities in the state.

The lab, which was scheduled for completion by the end of June, is part of a larger project called Building the Marine Aquaculture Career Pipeline. As part of the project, NCSG has taken part in several events where they brought touch tanks and animals to schools. But CCC Aquaculture Department Chair David Cerino says this new lab will be on another level.

“It’s a flatbed trailer on which we are going to put a touch tank that can transport animals and quickly set it up so those animals can go into smaller trays for interaction. There will be a RAS system that will have fish in it, with all the components of a RAS system so we can explain what each part does and highlight that aspect of aquaculture.”

The mobile lab will also display different types of gear and information on different aquaculture techniques as well as monitors for visual presentations. The modular lab can have new elements added, as necessary.

“I do a lot of work in high schools in North Carolina to educate students about the opportunities in marine aquaculture,” says Jane Harrison, Coastal Economics Specialist with NCSG. “I can go in and give a power point presentation, but if they can’t see what these creatures really look like and get their hands on them, it’s not as effective.”

Another aspect of the project is developing curriculum for teaching about aquaculture. Harrison says that she hopes the mobile lab might inspire some teachers to create permanent aquaculture labs at their schools.
Hatchery International and Virginia Tech will jointly host RAStech 2019, a conference and trade show focused on recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS), on May 13 – 14, 2019 at the Capital Hilton in Washington, D.C.

Formerly the International Conference on Recirculating Aquaculture (ICRA), RAStech 2019 will feature keynote presentations and concurrent sessions discussing case studies, developments and advances in RAS and its future in the aquaculture industry.

Partnering with Hatchery International, backed by Annex Business Media’s event management expertise, ensures the continued success and growth of this event.

“We are happy to partner with Virginia Tech on this great initiative. The advancements in RAS technologies make this event a significant gathering of great minds and leaders in the aquaculture industry,” says Scott Jamieson, group publisher at Annex Business Media, which owns Hatchery International. “Sustainability is the way forward for aquaculture and RAStech will be a venue for sharing ideas and best practices for RAS applications.”

“RAStech 2019 will continue the ICRA’s vision of providing aquaculture professionals a resource for learning and sharing knowledge about RAS,” says David Kuhn, associate professor in the aquaculture research and extension programs, department of food science and technology at Virginia Tech. “Hatchery International is an ideal partner for us to accomplish this goal.”

For registration information visit

A technology platform that enables farms and hatcheries to track and manage their aquatic populations “with greater speed, accuracy and insight” is available from XpertSea.

The Canadian company says XpertSea’s platform uses artificial intelligence and computer vision to count and size early-stage aquatic organisms such as shrimp larvae and live feed.

The XpertCount is a smart IoT (internet of things) device that connects to a portal where customers can access data and analytics from any device, anywhere.

As of 2017, XpertSea’s customers in 48 countries have counted more than 17 billion organisms and uploaded over 100,000 counting and sizing sessions to the data portal, said the company. It recently found investors in Obvious Ventures, Aqua-Spark, and Real Ventures, which together raised C$10 million in Series A financing.

"This investment will help XpertSea take the guesswork out of aquaculture inventory management, which will drive profits for aquaculture producers and deliver positive environmental returns for our planet,” said Valerie Robitaille, CEO and co-founder of XpertSea.

“Precision aquaculture technology is the key to bringing transparency to transactions and standardizing practices across the industry, which benefits everyone along the aquaculture food chain,” she added.
With the help of over $30,000 in travel grants, 14 students from universities around the world will showcase their research at the 8th International Symposium on Aquatic Animal Health (ISAAH), which will be held September 2-6, 2018, in Charlottetown, PEI.

ISAAH, held every four years, is co-hosted this year by the Atlantic Veterinary College (AVC), the PEI BioAlliance, and the American Fisheries Society-Fish Health Section. This will be only the second time that it has been hosted in Canada since the inaugural conference in Vancouver, British Columbia, in 1988.

The travel grants are provided by the Fish Health Section of the American Fisheries Society and Canada Excellence Research Chair in Aquatic Epidemiology located at AVC. The students will present research on topics including emerging diseases in fish and biosecurity implications; the effects of the ornamental aquarium fish trade; injuries and disease in Pacific salmon; and pathogens and parasites affecting various species like wild and farmed fish, crustaceans, manatees, and amphibians.

“This conference is an excellent opportunity for the students to present their research and to network with world leaders in aquatic animal health,” said Dr David Groman, local chair of the conference and Section Head for Aquatic Diagnostic Services at AVC.

Early bird registration for the symposium ends on July 13. For more information, visit

As important as having the specialized skillset, an aquaculture diver should also have the temperament to get the job done, writes Kelly N. Korol.

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