Submersible mussel farms planned for Canada –

Submersible mussel farms planned for Canada Published:  15 May, 2009

The Honourable Gail Shea, Canada’s Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, and the Honourable Tom Hedderson, Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture today announced $266,604 in funding for early commercialization of submersible technology that will enable development of deep water mussel aquaculture in areas exposed to arctic ice in Newfoundland and Labrador.

“Our Government is committed to working with the aquaculture sector in Canada to develop and adopt innovative technologies and management techniques,” said Minister Shea. “When we invest in our aquaculture industry, we are investing in improved environmental performance and productivity, as well as sustainable jobs today and for years to come. This is why the Government of Canada committed $23.5 million over the next five years in Aquaculture Innovation and Market Access Program (AIMAP) to support the development of a vibrant and sustainable Canadian aquaculture industry that contributes to the economies of rural, coastal and Aboriginal communities.”

“The development of the deep water mussel site on the northeast coast will be beneficial to the entire industry,” said Minister Hedderson. “One of the major objectives of the mussel industry in the province is to expand production. The development of open water sites will allow the industry to grow beyond its current levels of production, giving the industry the ability to expand into new markets.”

Norlantic Processors Ltd. of Winterton received $221,090 under the federal Aquaculture Innovation and Market Access Program which encourages innovative investments in the aquaculture industry by focusing on short-term projects that will lead to industry-wide benefits. The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador contributed $45,514 from its Aquaculture Strategic Development Program. In the province’s Budget 2009, $330,000 has been allocated for this program.

Nearly all of the sheltered sites suitable for mussel culture on the northeast coast are currently licensed, so many of the existing growers are looking to develop farms into more exposed areas. The deep water site being developed by Norlantic Processors is the first of its kind in the province and the information gathered from this project will be transferable to other growers that plan to develop these types of ventures.

In the first phase of the project, Norlantic Processors tested the concept of using an exposed deep water site for mussel aquaculture by adapting technology to sink the lines for use in deep water. Two consecutive seasons of using this modified device have proven favourable enough for the company to move on to early commercialization.

Due to the challenging climate in the province, mussel long lines need to be submerged during winter months to avoid damage from rough seas, shore-fast ice movement and from northern pack ice in the spring. If successful, the utilization of deep water sites in Canada could greatly increase the potential number of sites and areas suitable for sustainable mussel aquaculture production.

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