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Canadian Aquaculture R&D Review 2011


Fisheries and Oceans Canada's Research and Development Programs Supporting Canadian Aquaculture

DFO's vision for aquaculture development in Canada is "to benefit Canadians through the culture of aquatic organisms while upholding the ecological and socio-economic values associated with Canada's oceans and inland waters." On behalf of the Government of Canada, DFO facilitates this vision by delivering programs and services that support Canada's scientific, social, and economic interests in oceans and fresh waters and through delivering the following outcomes to Canadians:

  • Economically Prosperous Maritime Sectors and Fisheries
  • Sustainable Aquatic Ecosystems
  • Safe and Secure Waterways

In order to deliver these outcomes, DFO has developed several programs that provide a strong scientific foundation and effective management to both support the economic prosperity of the aquaculture industry and ensure the sustainability of Canada's aquatic ecosystems.

DFO is the lead federal department for the sustainable management of fisheries and aquaculture. Responsibility for aquaculture management and development (governance) is shared with provincial and territorial governments to ensure that the legislative and regulatory framework for aquaculture is responsive to the needs of industry and Canadians.

Green Sea Urchin

In order to focus research, DFO has developed aquaculture pathways of effects (POEs) describing aquaculture activity - stressor - effect linkages for each of seven pathways: chemicals, escapes, light, noise, nutrients, pathogens, and structure. Knowledge gaps and research recommendations for each pathway were identified through a science advisory process and will aid DFO in creating research priorities for ACRDP and PARR. The goal will be to target research priorities that clearly meet the needs of federal, provincial, or territorial regulators and managers. csas-sccs/Publications/SAR-AS/2009/2009_071-eng.htm

DFO's aquaculture research is supported by four key programs focussing on:

  • regulatory knowledge gaps in support of federal and provincial aquaculture regulations, including, since December 2010, research priorities to support the federal Pacific Aquaculture Regulations (Program for Aquaculture Regulatory Research)
  • collaborative research and development to increase the level of collaborative research and development activity between the aquaculture industry and DFO (Aquaculture Collaborative Research and Development Program)
  • the development of genomic tools used in disease diagnostics and broodstock development (Genomics Research and Development Initiative)
  • collaborative projects that facilitates the transfer of the latest technologies from research and development to the commercialization stage for use by the aquaculture industry (Aquaculture Innovation and Market Access Program)

These four programs that fund aquaculture research and development are described in detail below.

Aquaculture Collaborative Research and Development Program (ACRDP)

The Aquaculture Collaborative Research and Development Program (ACRDP) is a DFO initiative to increase the level of collaborative research and development activity between the aquaculture industry and the department, and in some instances with other funding partners. The ACRDP is an industry-driven program that teams industry with DFO researchers. Projects are conducted at DFO Research facilities or possibly industry partner facilities. The program allocates ACRDP funds to collaborative research projects that are proposed and jointly funded by aquaculture producer partners. The ACRDP funding is approximately $4.275 million per year and is subdivided regionally.

The key goals of the program are to improve the competitiveness of the Canadian aquaculture industry, increase collaboration between the department and industry to enhance aquaculture in Canada, facilitate and accelerate the process of technology transfer and research commercialization, and increase scientific capacity for essential aquaculture research and development in the aquaculture sector.

The broad research and development objectives, under which National and Regional priorities have been established, are threefold:

  • Best performance in fish production;
  • Optimal fish health;
  • Industry environmental performance.

Since the program's inception in 2001, over 320 projects have been approved and funded. In total, almost $70.0M in research has been funded through the ACRDP, consisting of $32.5M in ACRDP funds, $15.4M in industry contributions, $5.0M leveraged from other project partners, and $17.0M that DFO has contributed on top of the yearly ACRDP allocation.

Contact: Corina Busby (
For more information, please visit the ACRDP website at: /aquaculture/acrdp-pcrda/index-eng.htm

Genomics Research&Development Initiative (GRDI)

Through the adoption of leading-edge genomics research and biotechnology tools and techniques, Fisheries and Oceans Canada is improving it's ability to protect endangered species, manage opening and closing of fisheries, avoid over exploitation of resources, prosecute poachers, improve aquaculture practices, control disease outbreaks, and remediate contaminated sites. This focus is strategically aligned with federal priorities for science and technology related to environmental sustainability, scientific support for regulatory and policy decisions, and utilizing cuttingedge technology within federal science-based departments to manage the diverse range of human activities in Canadian waters.

The Genomics Research and Development Initiative (GRDI) sustains intramural genomics research in support of key federal public policy objectives in areas of national interest to strengthen innovation, promote competitiveness, and ensure sustainability for the benefit of Canadians. Since the implementation of the GRDI in 1999, participating departments and agencies (National Research Council of Canada, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada), Health Canada and the Public Health Agency, Natural Resources Canada, Environment Canada and Fisheries and Oceans Canada) have increased their human resource capacity as well as enhanced the tools, equipment, infrastructure and networks required to undertake genomics research and development and participate in broader, high-impact programs through extensive collaborations with Canadian and international organizations.

Contact: Mark Hovorka ( Further information on priorities, plans, programs and projects can be found on the DFO web site:

Program for Aquaculture Regulatory Research (PARR)

The Program for Aquaculture Regulatory Research (PARR) is an internal DFO research program that supports research projects focused on increasing the relevant science knowledge base that supports and advises informed DFO ecosystem-based environmental regulation and decision making for the aquaculture sector.

This program was created in 2008 as part of the Sustainable Aquaculture Program. The knowledge and information produced as a result of funded research will support federal, provincial and territorial activities to develop ecosystembased approaches for the management of aquaculture.

Research priorities for PARR are targeted to address regional and national regulatory research priorities, focusing on understanding aquaculture-environment interactions to support siting considerations and science to support fish health management, including research to support sea lice management and the fate and effects of sea lice treatments on non-target organisms.

Contact: Nancy House (

Aquaculture Innovation and Market Access Program (AIMAP)

In 2008 DFO announced a new grants and contributions program to bolster the development, early commercialization and/or early adoption of innovative techniques for the Canadian aquaculture sector. Over the next five years $23.5 million will be made available for innovation and market access projects.

The goal of this new program is to catalyze private sector and other investment in the aquaculture sector that will:

  • 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; and
  • Position Canadian aquaculture products as having high value in the market place based on their environmental performance, traceability, and other considerations.

Since June 2008 AIMAP has contributed approximately $15 million towards 106 projects totalling $58.5 million in value. These projects are contributing towards the program goals of development of high value products, sustainable development, species diversification or the development of green technology.


Taking a blood sample from an anaesthetized Atlantic Salmon

NSERC investments in aquaculture R&D partnerships soar to historic highs

Investments in aquaculture research partnerships by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) and its partners in industry and government have soared to historic highs in recent years. This has been fuelled by the federal government's current emphasis on addressing the innovation needs of fisheries and related industries.

In fiscal year 2009-10, NSERC investments in universityindustry aquaculture research partnerships topped $4.6 million – almost 2.5 times more than the average annual outlay during the previous 10 years. That investment leveraged a record $2.7 million in cash and in-kind contributions from partners in industry and government, a staggering seven-fold jump since the 2000-01 fiscal year.

Fisheries and related industries were among four industry sectors identified as priorities for NSERC research partnership investments in Budget 2008. To address these priorities, NSERC received an additional $34 million annually.

In the past two years alone, NSERC has committed more than $24 million to fisheries and aquaculture research partnerships. This funding has supported more than 25 research projects and two Strategic Networks, including the NSERC Canadian Integrated Multi-Trophic Aquaculture Network.

NSERC's Collaborative Research and Development (CRD) program and DFO's Aquaculture Collaborative Research and Development Program (ACRDP) both support aquaculture industry collaborative research. As these programs are complimentary, collaborative teams of aquaculture researchers from academia, DFO and industry could apply for matching funds under both programs. NSERC and DFO are looking at ways to facilitate the evaluation of proposals simultaneously submitted under these collaborative research programs. Additionally, the potential also exists for NSERC and DFO to jointly sponsor workshops also aimed at creating new partnerships among industry, academic, and government researchers.

New Industry-driven Strategy

Complementing the joint workshops is NSERC's new Engage Grants Program (EGP), which helps university researchers build new, sustainable partnerships with Canadian companies. Engage provides grants of up to $25,000 for six months to help researchers solve company-specific technological challenges. So far the program has been a smash hit with researchers and businesses alike, with more than 400 Engage Grants awarded in 2010 alone.

The Engage program is one of several new initiatives that have emerged from NSERC's new Strategy for Partnerships and Innovation (SPI), unveiled in November 2009. Developed with extensive input from industry, SPI is an action plan with four main thrusts that have been identified in cooperation with industry: building sustainable relationships; streamlining access to partnership funding programs; connecting people and skills; and, focusing on national priorities. The over-arching goal of this fourpoint Strategy is to more than double the number of companies participating in NSERC-funded research partnerships to approximately 3,000 by 2014.

While Engage Grants are a key instrument for meeting this objective, NSERC is also moving on several other fronts to attract more businesses to research partnerships, including:

  • Refining the mandate of its five regional offices – Atlantic, Quebec, Ontario, Prairies and Pacific - to focus squarely on facilitating academic-industry research collaborations;
  • Organizing "speed dating" events to bring interested researchers and companies into brief and structured contact to discuss needs and capabilities;
  • Supporting project management within our partnership grants;
  • Offering grants to researchers in support of market studies to assist in commercializing promising inventions and to inform research directions; and
  • Improving our intellectual property (IP) policy to expand arrangement options between industry and post-secondary institutions, including assignment of IP rights to industry partners.

In addition to these actions, NSERC has significantly expanded the range of funding opportunities for businesses that want to tap into expertise in Canada's Community Colleges and CEGEPS. For example, under the Colleges and Community Innovation Program, NSERC has introduced new Applied R&D Grants that will assist college experts in solving company-specific problems.

During the last two years, there have been important new developments at NSERC. These have been geared to helping companies benefit from the enormous federal investment in post-secondary research and student training. To stay informed about what's going on at NSERC, researchers can subscribe to NSERC's new e-bulletin, IN Partnership. Readers will be able to keep abreast of new funding opportunities and learn more about how Canadian companies are prospering from NSERC-funded research partnerships.

NRC-IRAP supports aquaculture SMEs to grow stronger, grow faster and grow bigger through innovation

NRC Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC-IRAP) supports small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Canada to enable them to grow stronger, grow faster, and grow bigger and larger through innovation and technology.

Delivered through a network of over 240 Industrial Technology Advisors (ITAs) found in more than 100 communities across Canada, this Program helps firms to develop technologies and successfully commercialize them in a global marketplace. It provides a suite of advisory services, networking and linkages, and non-repayable financial assistance to SMEs. These services are adapted to the SMEs industrial, socio-economic, and geographic make-up of the SMEs in order to provide a customized response to their development needs.

Since April 1, 2009, NRC-IRAP has provided $3,190,588 in financial support to aquaculture SMEs across Canada. This has been applied to 65 different projects to aquaculture SMEs across Canada to assist them in their new product and process development and improvement, and in adoption initiatives. Here are some examples of program assistance provided to the aquaculture sector during this period:

  • NRC-IRAP supported an incoming technology transfer mission for TRI-GEN Fish Improvement Ltd. (Bruce Swift:, a BC salmon farming company, to bring Cryogenetics AS of Norway to demonstrate their finfish milt cryopreservation technology. Cryogenetics has now incorporated a subsidiary, Canada Cryogenetics Services Inc., who will offer their services to finfish aquaculture companies across the country.
  • NRC-IRAP Youth Employment Program supported Quebec-based Aquabiotech Inc. (Hélène Drouin: to hire an intern who worked on developing rearing pond habitat for zebrafish and Xenopus frogs. Under the same program, Carter's Point, NB's Acadian Sturgeon and Caviar Inc. (Cornel Ceapa: hired an intern to study the impact of physical rearing conditions on growth in early life stages of cultured sturgeon.
  • NRC-IRAP provided financial support to Lyndon Fish Hatcheries Inc. of New Dundee, Ontario (Lynn Rieck: who is collaborating with Rainbow Trout farmers in Atlantic Canada on the development of strains with better growth performance for saltwater sea cage grow-out.
  • NRC-IRAP linked Newfoundland seafood processor Allen's Fisheries Ltd. (Sean Allen: to Memorial University's Marine Institute, which provided technical input and financial support toward the successful development of a longterm live holding system for farmed mussels.

In 2002, NRC-IRAP worked with industry associations the New Brunswick Salmon Growers Association, the Aquaculture Association of Nova Scotia, the Newfoundland Aquaculture Industry Association and the PEI Aquaculture Industry Alliance to establish what's now known as the Atlantic Canada Aquaculture Research and Development Network (ACAIRDN), placing R&D Coordinators (RDCs) in each of the associations. Since that time, NRC-IRAP has supported RDCs in associations in BC, Ontario, Quebec and in the NB shellfish industry. The presence of ACAIRDN and individual RDCs has increased the technical acumen of sector associations enabling tech transfer to their members, establishing and communicating sector R&D priorities to stakeholders, increasing R&D coordination within the sector and access to outside expertise for their members.

For more information on the program and to contact your local NRC-IRAP ITA, please call 1-877-994-4727 or send an email to

Blue Mussels
Underwater photograph of Atlantic Salmon in a large tank

Genome BC's research projects tackling major aquaculture challenges

The largest industry in BC's $1.9 billion fisheries sector, aquaculture includes both ocean and inland fish farms. Dominated by salmon, oysters and clams, the total harvest in 2007 was 88,900 tonnes, generating $388 million in revenues and $116 million in GDP. Farmed salmon accounts for 94% of total farm gate value from aquaculture in the province, positioning BC as the fourth largest producer of farmed salmon in the world.

But innovative solutions are urgently needed to sustain and expand production. Genome sciences are assisting in the development of improved management strategies to protect biodiversity and maintain the health of both marine and freshwater species. Genomics research is also providing novel technologies for selecting production and quality traits to ensure fisheries and aquaculture industries provide high-value products.

Genome BC's research projects are tackling major challenges to the fisheries and aquaculture industries including sea lice, climate change and increased demand for food products. Projects aim to provide a better understanding of the effect of environmental changes on fish and other aquatic species, the effects of toxic algae and diseases, and the interaction of pathogens and parasites. Applications and technologies from this research include tools that forecast responses to environmental stressors and changes; methods for monitoring viral, bacterial or fungal pathogens and parasites to improve prediction and treatment of disease outbreaks; and support for novel methods to control algae blooms around fish farms.

Example projects:

Development of a health assessment tool for marine mussels (Myt-OME): Measuring environmental impacts on mussel health

Funded by Genome BC, the team is developing a sensitive genomic tool for multiple species of marine mussels, which will enable more accurate health assessments of coastal zones and aquaculture operations and help monitor the effects of the changing environment. Current methods to measure environmental impacts on mussel health are time-consuming and use mainly unreliable physiological indicators.

Atlantic salmon genome: Genome BC teaming up with international partners to sequence the Atlantic salmon genome

The multi-phased project's goal is to produce a genome sequence that identifies and maps the genes in the Atlantic salmon. This genome will then act as a reference and guide sequencing of the genomes of other salmonids, including Pacific salmon and rainbow trout, and more distantly related fish such as smelt and pike.

Genomic Tools for Fisheries Management (FishMan Omics): Assessing the health of BC's wild salmon industry

This Genome BC-funded project, as led by the University of British Columbia's Scott Hinch and Kristi Miller of Fisheries & Oceans Canada, is using genomics to characterize biomarkers to assess the overall health and condition of migrating fish stocks.

Sablefish Genomics: Understanding genetic variation in sablefish

Funded by Genome BC, the Sablefish Genomics project developed a preliminary suite of genomic tools that can provide important information to both aquaculture companies and management of wild fish stocks. University of Victoria's Ben Koop, in collaboration with Sablefish Canada Ltd., identified and characterized the genetic variation in sablefish, allowing for efficient identification of individuals for monitoring wild stocks as well as for selective breeding programs for aquaculture.

Genomics in Lice and Salmon (GiLS): Using genomics to combat sea lice infections in salmon

The Genome BC-funded team of researchers (University of Victoria's Ben Koop, Simon Fraser University's William Davidson, Fisheries & Oceans Canada's Simon Jones, and Vancouver Island University's Grant Murray) is using microarray technology to examine gene expression patterns of both salmon and louse to identify which genes undergo significant changes in expression during infection. Identification of genetic markers in lice will enable the examination of population characteristics, including migration patterns, origins and selection, which will in turn provide information about the genetic factors that influence the hostpathogen response.

Summary of ACOA's role and investments in Atlantic Canada's aquaculture industry

Established in 1987, the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) is the federal agency responsible for the Government of Canada's economic development efforts in the provinces of New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland and Labrador. With 30 offices throughout Atlantic Canada, ACOA works with business and communities to make Atlantic Canada's economy more innovative, productive and competitive. In addition, ACOA ensures that Atlantic Canada's interests are reflected in both the policies and programs developed by other departments and agencies of the federal government.

ACOA has a broad mandate to increase employment opportunities and earned income in the Atlantic region. The Agency has identified aquaculture as one of several strategic sectors for Atlantic Canada. Through the Atlantic Innovation Fund (AIF) and the Business Development Program (BDP), ACOA has worked in partnership with industry stakeholders to make investments in innovation and infrastructure that build upon the aquaculture industry's competitive advantages. For instance, over the last 10 years, ACOA has made AIF contributions towards the following R&D aquaculture projects:

Aquaculture R&D Projects related to fish:

  • Genome Atlantic (Pan Atlantic): Atlantic Cod genomics and broodstock development to enhance the commercialization of the cod aquaculture industry
  • University of New Brunswick (NB): Integrated multi-trophic aquaculture research and development to mitigate the environmental impact of marine cage culture
  • University of New Brunswick (NB): Effluent treatment system for land based aquaculture to mitigate effluent discharge
  • Novartis Animal Health Canada (PEI): Platform development and DNA vaccine for kio herpes virus
  • Université de Moncton (NB): Broodstock research and development related to high pedigreed Arctic Charr to enhance commercialization opportunities
  • Scotian Halibut Limited (NS): Develop certified halibut broodstock to enhance commercialization opportunities
  • Huntsmen Marine Science Centre (NB): Develop an Atlantic Salmon broodstock facility to enhance commercialization opportunities
  • Research Productivity Council (NB): Develop a new fish pathogen diagnostic tool for the aquaculture industry
  • Memorial University (NL): Support for Atlantic Cod broodstock development and fish health management protocols to enhance commercialization opportunities for the aquaculture industry
  • Atlantic Veterinary College (PEI): Create a Centre for Aquatic Health Sciences to support the regions aquaculture industry
  • Genome Atlantic (PEI): Development of Camelina as a feed supplement for the aquaculture industry
  • Aqua Bounty Canada Inc. and Aqua Bounty Farms Inc. (PEI): Generate technology to produce reproductively sterile Atlantic Salmon
  • Atlantech Engineering&Associates Incorporated (PEI): Advancing water recirculation and effluent treatment technology for the land-based aquaculture industry
  • Solarvest (PEI) Inc.: Microalgae oils for salmon feed nutraceutical application
  • Cooke Aquaculture Inc. (NB): Development and implementation of aquaculture stock traceability
  • Novartis Animal Health Canada Inc. (PEI): Mitigation of infectious salmon anemia (ISA) by vaccination and genetic selection

Aquaculture R&D Projects related to Shellfish and Seaweeds

  • PEI Aquaculture Alliance (PEI) : Management of invasive species (e.g., tunicates) fouling aquaculture farms
  • Université de Moncton (NB): Technology and services to enhance the commercialization of the Shellfish (e.g., oysters) industry
  • Acadian Seaplants Limited (NS): Cultivate seaweed biomass for human food and biomass for active compounds for use in various sectors (e.g., agriculture, nutrition)

Atlantic Salmon swimming in a large rearing tank
Wolf Eel juvenile

Genome Canada

Genome Canada is a not-for-profit organization established in February 2000 with a Government of Canada mandate to develop and implement a national strategy to support large-scale genomics and proteomics research projects that benefit all Canadians.

Fisheries and aquaculture is one of Genome Canada's six areas of focus, and, as of 2010, it had enabled over $43 million in related genomics research, roughly $21 million of that coming from Industry Canada via Genome Canada, and the other half coming from a variety of public and private sources.

Genome Canada competitions adhere to world-class peer reviews, and are focused on research projects with strong potential for application. Projects typically have efficient collaborations between industry, academia and government representatives, and have become globally-recognized for their work in advancing this sector in terms of genomics as well as policy, commercialization and knowledge translation issues.

Project results are communicated as broadly as possible, via industry and other relevant publications, as well as venues such as aquaculture association and scientific conferences and meetings.

Genome British Columbia and Genome Atlantic, given their proximity to substantial aquaculture industry, have managed much of the aquaculture related projects funded by Genome Canada, and have collaborated on many aspects of these projects, creating a national network of expertise in the process.

Results from the projects have included:

  • The International Genomics Research in Atlantic Salmon project (GRASP) and subsequent Consortium for Genomics Research on all Salmonids Project (cGRASP) have developed a set of evidence-based genomic resources for salmonids (salmon, trout, charr). These tools are helping industry, government and academia and environmental conservationists confront challenges ranging from amoebic gill disease in Australia to municipal waste monitoring in Europe and Canada. (GRASP 2001-2005) (cGRASP 2006-2010)
  • Finding the genes related to growth and other traits of interest to the Canadian halibut aquaculture industry, which has enhanced their breeding programs and reduced time to market by 20%, greatly increasing profitability. (Pleurogene Project, 2005-2008)
  • Increasing productivity and innovation in the Canadian cod aquaculture industry through the discovery of the genes associated with disease-resistance, growth rates and stress tolerance. (The Atlantic Cod Genomics and Broodstock Development Project, 2006-2010)

Because of the enormous potential for aquaculture to be an economic driver in Canada, Genome Canada continues to include this sector within its six priority areas, and actively seeks the input of industry and government regarding the issues of most importance.

Genome Atlantic

With the incredible potential that aquaculture holds for Canada, Genome Atlantic has made aquaculture a major element of its research portfolio. The organization, along with the Government of Canada through Genome Canada and many other regional partners, has enabled over $27 million in aquaculture-related genomics projects aimed to increase productivity and reduce costs for Canadian aquaculture producers.

Projects have ranged from roughly $4 - $18 million, and have attributed their considerable results to the collaborative nature of the research, where genomics-based solutions were developed to address key industry challenges.

The projects have dealt with a variety of issues ranging from elite broodstock development to the study of sustainable feeds to replace fishmeal and oil.

Significant results to date have included:

  • Finding the genes related to growth and other traits of interest to the Canadian halibut aquaculture industry, which has enhanced their breeding programs and reduced time to market by 20%, greatly increasing profitability. (Pleurogene Project, 2005-2008)
  • Increasing productivity and innovation in the Canadian cod aquaculture industry through the discovery of the genes associated with disease-resistance, growth rates and stress tolerance. (The Atlantic Cod Genomics and Broodstock Development Project, 2006-2010)

A current project (Camelina: Canada's Next Oilseed, 2010-2013) is exploring the potential of camelina, a hardy, oil-rich plant, as a partial replacement for fish oil and meal in aquaculture feed. The plant's high levels of protein make it a strong contender for inclusion in fish feed, and could help reduce the cost and sustainability issues associated with fishmeal and oil. Camelina is already used in other animal feeds - including poultry - with great success. The project is conducted at the Nova Scotia Agricultural College and the Memorial University Ocean Science Centre, along with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, and is funded regionally by organizations such as the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency – Atlantic Innovation Fund for the Atlantic portion, and the Western Economic Partnership Agreement – Western Economic Diversification Canada for the Prairie component.

Aquaculture continues to be a focus of Genome Atlantic. The organization is actively seeking input from producers and government on areas of priority for this important sector.

Contact: Shelley King, Director of Project Management, Genome Atlantic (

Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Ministère de l'Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l'Alimentation du Québec – MAPAQ)

The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Ministère de l'Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l'Alimentation du Québec – MAPAQ) promotes sustainable development and competitiveness in the fisheries and aquaculture sector in Quebec.

Its management of innovation and technology supports programs of scientific research and technical support to the industry led by its three R&D centres: the Centre for Mariculture îles-de-la- Madeleine (Centre maricole des îles-de-la-Madeleine – CeMIM), the Marine Aquaculture Centre Grande-Rivière (Centre aquacole marin de Grande-Rivière – CAMGR), and the Aquatic Products Technology Centre in Gaspé (Centre technologique des produits aquatiques, à Gaspé – CTPA). They generate knowledge useful to industry and coordinate technical assistance provided to aquaculture businesses through a network of contributors located throughout the province.

MAPAQ is responsible for developing and implementing strategies and programs that foster innovation. It provides funding for programs such as monitoring, R&D projects, technology transfer, and dissemination of information, and encourages collaboration among industry, institutions, and R&D organizations. Finally, mandated by the Government of Québec, MAPAQ oversees two funds managed by the mariculture industry development corporation (Société de développement de l'industrie maricole – SODIM) and the inland aquaculture research and development corporation (Société de recherche et de développement en aquaculture continentale inc. – SORDAC). It also provides funding to R&D organizations such as the North Shore Aquaculture Centre (Centre aquacole de la Côte-Nord), the Salmonid Selection and Transfer Centre (Centre de transfert et de sélection des salmonidés), and the Marine Biotechnology Research Centre (Centre de recherche sur les biotechnologies marines).

Société de développement de l'industrie maricole (SODIM) Inc. was founded in 1997 for the purpose of providing firms interested in marine aquaculture with flexible financial assistance tailored to their needs. SODIM is a not-for-profit corporation and its mission is to contribute to the creation and development of profitable, competitive marine aquaculture enterprises.

To achieve its mission, SODIM has set the following goals to promote the development of a viable marine aquaculture industry within its territory, namely in the Gaspé Peninsula, Magdalen Islands, Lower St. Lawrence and North Shore, specifically by:

  • Providing financial assistance for the start-up, diversification and expansion of marine aquaculture enterprises;
  • Offering technical assistance and advisory services to marine aquaculture enterprises; and
  • Promoting research and development and technology transfer in aquaculture.

SODIM has two important tools with which to achieve its mission - an investment fund and a R&D fund. The general purpose of the R&D fund is to stimulate research and technology transfer and promote the development of freshwater and marine aquaculture enterprises in the maritime regions of Quebec. The fund is designed to support precompetitive research activities, i.e., activities of a very practical nature. With the fund, SODIM seeks to promote innovation in the aquaculture industry in these regions. With the collaboration of its partners, SODIM is responsible for identifying research priorities and developing and overseeing the implementation of a science action plan.

The Réseau Aquaculture Québec

The Réseau Aquaculture Québec (RAQ) is a network of researchers (academic, provincial and federal government researchers, CEGEP professors) involved in aquaculture research in Québec. The network has been supported by Valorisation Recherche Québec (VRQ) and the Société de développement de l'industrie maricole (SODIM) from 2001 to 2006. From 2006 to 2012, the network will be supported through the "Réseaux stratégiques" program of the Fonds québécois de la recherche sur la nature et les technologies (FQRNT).

RAQ has succeeded in bringing together all Québec researchers with an interest in finfish and shellfish aquaculture, in both the fresh and marine environments, and to provide them with a forum for comparing and combining their research results and expertise.

RAQ has always had very close contact with the aquaculture industry in Québec, especially to its close association with SODIM and the Société de recherché et de développement en aquaculture continentale (SORDAC), partners who play an active role in the elaboration of the RAQ's scientific program.

Contact: Céline Audet, Ph.D. Scientific Director,

Sea urchin
Wild salmon during spawning migration

Société de recherche et de développement en aquaculture continentale (SORDAC) Inc.

Société de recherche et de développement en aquaculture continentale (SORDAC) Inc. was created as an independent not for profit corporation in 1993 to coordinate and fund research and technology transfer in freshwater aquaculture in Quebec.

SORDAC's board has 11 directors, five from private industry, four from education institutions, and two from the public sector. Its members, mostly represented by active farmers, constitute over 80% of aquaculture production for consumption and stocking in Québec.

The mission of the SORDAC is to coordinate priorities and actions to enable funding of research and technology transfer. It also promotes effective networking between research partners and the aquaculture industry to increase the productivity and profitability of the Quebec freshwater aquaculture industry.

The SORDAC mission mandate is:

  1. To develop and implement a strategy for research and technology transfer;
  2. To encourage and fund research activities that are beneficial to the freshwater aquaculture sector in Québec;
  3. To organize and finance the technology transfers to enterprises; and
  4. To source funds to finance its activities.

Pacific Salmon Forum

The BC Pacific Salmon Forum completed its mandate to the Province of British Columbia with the delivery of a final report and recommendations in January, 2009. It has operated since April 2005 as an independent citizen body using science and stakeholder dialogue to advance the sustainable governance of BC Pacific salmon. Since 2006 it has funded a variety of research initiatives and technical reports.

Before ending operations, the Forum funded several initiatives to be carried out in spring and summer 2009, including:

  • oceanographic data collection to support the refinement of the dynamic finite volume coastal ocean model tracking the movement of sea lice and other particles in the Broughton Archipelago;
  • marine monitoring and analysis of wild juvenile pink and chum salmon in the Broughton Archipelago during the out-migration period of March through June; and
  • lab and field study of the biological effects of SLICE®, (emamectin benzoate), a widely used anti-parasitic agent used on salmon farms to control sea lice, on the marine environment.

In addition, an independent peer review of the Forum's interim research findings from the two-year Broughton Research Program will be conducted.

Forum members are also urging the Province to appoint an independent science secretariat to assume responsibility for future research to support an ecosystem-based management approach. This research is necessary to evaluate all development activities in BC watersheds and nearshore marine systems, improving public confidence that urban and industrial activity is being undertaken based on the best science available.

A copy of the Forum's Final Report and Recommendations along with research results and other contracted reports can be found at This website will remain active for at least one year.

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