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Advancing marine finfish aquaculture in the Bay of Fundy



Canada has developed a significant aquaculture industry over the last 25 years but commercial production continues to be based almost entirely on salmon. In an effort to diversify the industry, Canadian researchers, government agencies and private sector entrepreneurs have worked towards developing coldwater marine fish species to complement the established salmon farming industry. Particularly important in Atlantic Canada has been the hatchery production of significant numbers of juvenile Atlantic halibut, Atlantic cod and haddock, once considered a major stumbling block for commercialization of these species. Canada's aquaculture industry is now poised to take advantage of investments made in developing local expertise and infrastructure in hatchery production of coldwater marine fish. However, given the economic uncertainties in rearing these fish, there is reluctance among farmers and lending institutions to risk the larger sums of money needed to purchase juveniles of these species compared to less expensive juvenile salmon.

We have therefore put in place a research network to work in partnership with the aquaculture industry to assess the grow-out potential of two of these key marine species - halibut and cod. This pre-commercial development work will gather biological and financial information regarding the grow-out of these species in a sea cage environment. It will also address the much needed benchmark economic information requirements which the industry, banks, Farm Credit Corporation (FCC) and government agencies require for commercialization to occur. This project will enable effective networking and partnerships within the aquaculture industry to share information/outcomes required to determine the long-term feasibility of non-salmonid marine fish species for commercialization. The research will be conducted through partnerships with industry, government (DFO and New Brunswick Dept. Agriculture, Fisheries and Aquaculture (NB-DAFA)) and academia (University of New Brunswick (UNB) and Universirty of Prince Edward Island (UPEI)).

We propose to place 50,000 juvenile halibut in sea cages to complete performance-based trials. The evaluation of the economic performance of Atlantic cod grown in cages will be done using data obtained from industry on fish currently in cages. This part of the overall project focuses primarily on getting sufficient numbers of Atlantic halibut of 3 size ranges into cages for a 3 year performance evaluation and disease study. A single year class of fish will be stocked to allow for the tracking of performance over one production cycle from 2005 to 2008. Research will focus on early maturation, growth performance, optimal stocking sizes, fish health, production efficiencies and marketing. These research priorities have been developed through consultation with our industry partner and the NB DAFA.

Program Name

Aquaculture Collaborative Research and Development Program (ACRDP)


2005 - 2009


Atlantic: Gulf of Maine, Scotian Shelf

Principal Investigator(s)

Debbie Martin-Robichaud

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