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New aquaculture centre opens in Newfoundland

Centre to focus on fish health and clinical research to grow aquaculture industry


St. Alban’s, Nfld. – In an effort to further grow the province’s aquaculture industry – in a sustainable manner – the province has opened a new Centre for Aquaculture Health and Development.

The $8.8 million, state-of-the-art facility is based on models found in Norway, New Brunswick and the U.S., reports the Coaster.ca.

The province says the Centre will focus on aquatic diagnostics, marine biosecurity and energy conservation.

“[The Centre] will ensure that Newfoundland and Labrador’s aquaculture resources are protected well into the future,” says Kathy Dunderdale, premier of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Diagnostic work

The facility will meet federal and international standards and will provide diagnostic results much more quickly. The Coaster.ca reports that before a lot of fish samples had to be taken from grow-out sites and sent to Norway, Scotland or Maine for analysis. Now 95 per cent of the health-related work will be carried out at the Centre.

The Centre will house provincial aquaculture development and aquatic animal health staff. The province is adding new aquatic health professionals to the Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture to further enhance the province’s fish health and clinical research capacity.

The Centre, reports the Coaster.ca, will provide at least 10 full-time jobs, including veterinarians, an animal health technologist, aquaculture technicians, lab technicians and lab technologists.

Aquaculture growth

The province’s aquaculture industry has been growing at an unprecedented rate in recent years.

In 2010, production rose 12.7 per cent, from 13,627 tons in 2009 to 15,360 tons in 2010. The total market value of the industry has increased from $35 million in 2005 to $116 million in 2010. Aquaculture production is expected to increase again in 2011 with an expansion of the salmonid sector.