In recent years DFO has transformed from being a department focused on the wild fish industry to one that is increasingly concerned with integrating and managing a broad scope of ocean and inland water uses including fish farming, or aquaculture. DFO is committed to ensuring the responsible and sustainable development of the nation's aquaculture industry. The Program for Sustainable Aquaculture (PSA) is a clear expression of this commitment. The objective of the PSA is to support the sustainable development of the aquaculture sector, with a focus on enhancing public confidence in the sector and on improving the industry's global competitiveness.
Environmental Science at DFO is committed to contributing to environmentally sustainable aquaculture by improving the knowledge base and exploring the environmental effects of aquaculture. We provide a solid scientific foundation for the conservation and protection of fish and fish habitat and the conservation of marine ecosystems.
Environmental Science has developed a program of integrated research and science advice on the ecosystem effects of aquaculture. This research effort is distributed throughout the DFO regions, and studies are conducted in both freshwater and marine environments.
The DFO State-of-Knowledge Initiative (co-led by Aquaculture Science and Environmental Science) is a scientific review of the potential environmental effects of aquaculture. The review covers marine finfish and shellfish, and freshwater finfish, aquaculture. Scientific knowledge on potential environmental effects is addressed under three main themes:
- Impacts of wastes; including nutrient and organic matter;
- Impacts of chemicals used by the industry; including pesticides, drugs and antifoulants;
- Interactions between farmed and wild species; including disease transfer and genetic & ecological effects
The State-of-Knowledge review papers, written under the direction of DFO scientists, provide the current status of scientific information and identify knowledge gaps and research needs. DFO will use this valuable information to help set its future research agenda for aquaculture-environment interactions.
The science-based information we provide constitutes valuable and crucial decision-making tools for DFO regulators and policy makers. For example, our scientific advice will help DFO's Habitat Management in reviewing finfish cage aquaculture site applications and to assess ongoing aquaculture operations in the marine environment.
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