Memorial University has a role to play in an $8.5 million commitment to the development of a cod aquaculture demonstration farm in Newfoundland and Labrador.
The project, which was announced at the Ocean Sciences Centre (OSC) on March 2, will see the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador and the Government of Canada, through the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, provide the funding for Cooke Aquaculture to successfully grow cod from fry through to market size.
Danny Boyce, business and facility manager of the Dr. Joe Brown Aquatic Research Building at the Ocean Sciences Centre, says the facility is one of two organizations providing juvenile fish for the project. He says the OSC has been producing Atlantic cod juveniles for companies through research and development projects for a number of years and has the research staff and experience to back such a project.
“The goal of the project is to show the technical and economic feasibility of cod farming in Newfoundland and Labrador,” he said. “Once we demonstrate that cod aquaculture is viable at a 1,000 tonne scale in this province, we hope this will lead to further investment into a commercial hatchery.
“We’ve been conducting cod aquaculture research and development for years and now we can finally put the research into commercial use,” he added.
Mr. Boyce says this product based on Newfoundland and Labrador technology is now being deployed by the partners in this most recent announcement. Innovation in cod aquaculture taking place at the Dr. Joe Brown Aquatic Research Building is preeminent to remaining competitive in cod aquaculture globally.
Ross Butler, vice president of operations for Cooke Aquaculture says Memorial’s involvement in the project reaches many levels.
“Just about everybody at our organization who is in a management role is a Memorial University or Marine Institute graduate,” he said. “This investment will also provide numerous opportunities for students to learn, to do research and to be a part of this program. There are all kinds of opportunities and places where Memorial can support us through research, or we can support the university and its students through work terms and job placements.”