First established in 2008, this program forms one of three pillars under the overarching Sustainable Aquaculture Program at Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO).
Targeted Research Builds a Strong Scientific Knowledge Base
The PARR continues to build our scientific knowledge base in areas that address important regulatory issues related to Canada’s aquaculture industry. This includes funding targeted research projects that examine and assess: aquaculture interactions with wild fish populations; cumulative effects of aquaculture activities and ecosystem management models; effects and management of fish pests and pathogens; and potential effects of organic matter released from aquaculture operations on the environment.
The types of research funded by PARR fall mainly under the following overarching themes (this list includes examples of the kinds of targeted research projects that could receive funding under each theme) :
- Fish pest and pathogen treatment and management
- Environmental impacts of tunicate control measures
- Establishing transfer zones and protocols for controlling green crab
- Sea lice management and treatment effects
- Three-dimensional oceanographic and biological modeling tools
- Interactions with wild populations
- Cultured-wild finfish interactions
- Release of organic matter into the environment
- Organic matter depositional modeling tools
- Potential habitat impacts
- Cumulative effects of shellfish aquaculture on habitat
- Effect of shellfish aquaculture on kelps and sea grasses
- Cumulative effects and ecosystem management
- Finfish aquaculture: cumulative effects and waste assimilation
The aquaculture pathways of effects describes generic aquaculture activities and their potential effects. Building on these interactions, potential indicators and mitigation options can be identified and assessed.
Consistent with the recommendations of Commissioner Cohen, the renewed Sustainable Aquaculture Program will support the implementation of a more formalized approach, using a scientific risk assessment framework, to evaluating aquaculture-environmental interactions, including wild-cultured interactions related to fish health.
Science Advice for Regulatory Decision-Making
The knowledge, information, and scientific advice produced as a result of science activities under PARR inform DFO's aquaculture and fisheries protection regulations and policy decision making – including ecosystem-based and environmental regulations.
Peer reviewed science advice, based on the best available research and scientific literature, provides the basis for governments, both federal and provincial, to make informed decisions when developing policy on aquaculture practices and regulations. It also provides an analysis of the uncertainties and strengths of the scientific knowledge base.
A key to the success of this program is communicating the research results with federal and provincial experts responsible for the environmental regulation of aquaculture, as well as ensuring that research is aligned with aquaculture regulatory research needs and information gaps.
The Aquaculture Collaborative Research and Development Program (ACRDP) also contributes to the sustainability of aquaculture in Canada by teaming industry with DFO researchers to undertake research activities that promote Optimal fish health and improved environmental performance of the sector.
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