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Canada, B.C. Push Tech Innovations in Aquaculture

By August 20, 2019 August 21st, 2019 No Comments
Salmon farmer worker tending to salmon pens of BC coast.

Aquaculture companies urged to develop new technology to reduce environmental footprint, and market their innovations around the world.

For the past 18 years, Kris McNichol and his team at CPI Equipment Inc. have been working on improving the net gains for the aquaculture industry. During that time, the Nanoose Bay company on Vancouver Island, has installed its Life Support Aeration Systems and other innovations in Canada, Chile and the Shetlands. This week, with assistance from government programs, McNichol is in Norway to showcase his company’s technology at the Aqua Nor exhibition. “Knowing of the government support and trade expertise available we are hoping to move in a positive direction with exporting our systems in other countries,” McNichol, a 25-year veteran of the aquaculture industry told Raisingoppurtunity.ca. “CPI was successful in gaining some funding support to help market our products and company into the Norwegian market,” said McNichol. McNichol, president of CPI said his company’s core business is Aeration systems and Extraction.

CPI has developed a fully automatic Aeration system called O.D.i.N ( Operational Data Base in the Cloud Network System) which can remotely control the aeration system to turn on, regulate flow, read sensors; like dissolved oxygen and other sensors and then capture the data in the cloud and use it for predictive modeling. The CPI ODiN system can be used for Plankton and Algae blooms, low dissolved oxygen situations, In-Situ net cleaning, and for controlling the environment inside the pen for better quality of water. These are just a few things the ODiN system can do. “Through the TAP / Export Navigator program CPI has been able to gain some excellent knowledge and get some great connections to help support our efforts towards exporting our products,” said McNichol.

Local and international markets for sustainably produced seafood continue to grow, and the B.C. government is investing in companies in our coastal communities to take advantage of the demand.

Robert BoelensSpokesperson, BC Government

Pointing to CPI as an example, the Government of British Columbia is urging aquaculture companies to develop new technology, reduce their environmental footprint, and market their products to consumers around the world through the Export Navigator Program and the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade’s Trade Accelerator Program (TAP). “Local and international markets for sustainably produced seafood continue to grow, and the B.C. government is investing in companies in our coastal communities to take advantage of the demand,” said Robert Boelens, a BC government spokesperson. “The B.C. government helps fund export programs to help businesses in sectors like aquaculture technology reach new markets,” he said. B.C. is also working to support the seafood sector with the federal and provincial government’s BC Salmon Restoration and Innovation Fund. Announced earlier this year, this $142 million five-year program will benefit BC salmon conservation efforts and the wild and farmed seafood sectors by supporting science partnerships, adoption of innovation, and improved infrastructure projects.

The B.C. government’s partnership with the federal government also includes helping seafood producers to incorporate existing clean technology in their operations, and build on their reputation for sustainable practices. To date, about 20 B.C. projects have received $1.4M from the Fisheries and Aquaculture Clean Technology Adoption Program, including aquaculture companies using pumps to reclaim heat from water outflows, installing solar energy infrastructure, and more efficient net washing equipment. “The Government of Canada is supporting projects under the Fisheries and Aquaculture Clean Technology Adoption Program to enhance the environmental sustainability of our fisheries and aquaculture sectors. Investments in clean technology will help businesses adopt greener practices, while ensuring they remain competitive in the global trade market” said Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard. Boelens said the province has also worked with B.C. producers to ensure their products can be enjoyed safely here at home and around the world. For example, the government supported B.C. shellfish growers through oyster stock re-seeding efforts, and a marine virus pilot research study to initiate research on the potential development of an early-warning system to ensure harvested seafood does not pose a health risk. The B.C. government also supports fin- and shellfish aquaculture producers market their products locally through the Buy BC program, and internationally through a variety of programs that support targeted marketing, trade show participation, and consumer research in international marketplaces.

Advertising aquaculture in a positive manner within our province and country can help with all businesses associated within this industry, said McNichol. “Expanding the aquaculture market in BC and Canada would be very beneficial to put our market size on par with places like Norway and Chile. Then these other countries would be able to compare and take our knowledge of the industry seriously which would help expand our products globally,” he said, before heading off to Norway. McNichol will be part of a sizeable Canadian delegation that is in Norway this week to attend the 40th anniversary of Aqua Nor, the world’s largest trade exhibition for fish farming technology. The exhibition, which will be held at Trondheim Spektrum in Trondheim, has attracted about 600 exhibitors from 26 countries. Around 25,000 visitors are expected from between 60 and 80 countries during the event that opens August 20, 2019.