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Improving awareness of aquaculture R&D activities in Canada and increasing transfer of knowledge and technology to the aquaculture sector has been the goal of the aquaculture R&D review since its inception in 2004. It grew out of efforts by the federal and provincial governments to improve aquaculture R&D coordination and communication in Canada.
This third bi-annual edition continues to build on the success of the first two editions. It summarises about 150 R&D projects that have been underway since spring of 2007 until now that have received funding from governments. It is available in both English and French, in print as well as in various electronic formats on several web sites (Aquaculture Association of Canada, AquaPort.ca, Fisheries and Oceans Canada). This has enabled the summaries to reach and inform many interested people. The current edition captures the breadth of aquaculture R&D activities across the country, including marine and freshwater finfish, salmonids, shellfish, seaweeds, wild-cultured interactions, integrated multi-trophic aquaculture, and fish health. It reflects an impressive diversity and depth of research expertise across the country.
Over the past two years, the landscape has changed significantly with respect to how and where aquaculture R&D is funded and takes place. The funding mandate of two significant organizations was completed (AquaNet, a Network Centres of Excellence in Aquaculture) and the Pacific Salmon Forum (PSF). In part, the AquaNet experience highlighted the importance of a multi- and inter-disciplinary approach in fostering innovation across the country. The PSF was successful in developing collaborative approaches to addressing key issues of wild Pacific salmon and aquaculture interactions on the west coast of Canada.
In Budget 2008, there were two important initiatives for aquaculture R&D. Within Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), there were new resources for an aquaculture regulatory science program and funds for the Aquaculture Innovation and Market Access Program (AIMAP). The regulatory research program aims to increase the availability and accessibility of research to support aquaculture siting and environmental management. Two key components are a new internal DFO Program for Regulatory Research (PARR) and core funding for the Centre for Integrated Aquaculture Science, a DFO virtual Centre of Expertise based in St. Andrews, NB that focuses on ecosystem-based approaches. The objective of AIMAP is to improve the competitiveness of the Canadian aquaculture industry by encouraging an aquaculture sector that continuously develops and adopts innovative technologies and management techniques to enhance its global competitiveness and environmental performance. As well, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) received new funds for a special initiative on natural resources including fisheries and aquaculture. This has allowed NSERC to issue a special call for Strategic Grants and Networks. Both of these initiatives in DFO and NSERC further enable collaborative approaches to conducting R&D and further addresses a way to narrow the R-D-C gap in ensuring that a complete innovation cycle is achieved for the aquaculture sector in Canada.
The production of this issue was again a coordinated effort among Dr. Tim DeJager, DFO - Aquaculture Science Branch, and Peter Chettleburgh (Capamara Communications Inc.). Tim was responsible for overall coordination and external communications, Tricia Gheorghe (DFO) was responsible for coordinating all DFO submissions and arranging for translation of all the project descriptions and Peter was responsible for production. A special thank you is extended to these three, as well as Corina Busby (DFO) and Ingrid Burgetz (DFO) who assisted with reviewing the publication and James Lewis for design. Funding for this edition was provided by the DFO Aquaculture Collaborative R&D Program (ACRDP) and the British Columbia Aquaculture Research and Development Committee of the BC Innovation Council.
Jay Parsons, PhD, Aquaculture Science Branch, Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Al Castledine, PhD, BC Ministry of Agriculture and Lands
Tim DeJager, PhD, co3 consulting