Federal Funds Support British Columbia's Sturgeon Industry

September 12, 2011 - 5:43am

Vancouver Island University (VIU) will put the finishing touches on a new International Centre for Sturgeon Studies (ICSS), the first of its kind in North America, thanks to federal funding announced today.

An investment of $717,700 is being provided through the Western Diversification Program towards the centre’s completion.

""Developing innovative opportunities in our traditional industries is vital to the success of our coastal communities,"" said Andrew Saxton, Member of Parliament for North Vancouver and Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board and for Western Economic Diversification, on behalf of the Honourable Lynne Yelich, Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification. ""Projects like this are helping to grow our economy by establishing new markets and creating quality jobs across the West.""

Funding is being used to equip the 1208 m2 (13,000 ft2) ICSS with an electrical generator, furniture and freshwater recirculation system, as well as other necessary components. The centre’s official grand opening is set for October 3rd.

Through ICSS, VIU will strengthen the knowledge and technological expertise needed to develop a BC sturgeon aquaculture industry. Sturgeon is a highly valued species and success of the overall project will have positive implications for remote coastal communities.

Dr. David Witty, Vice President Academic and Provost, speaking on behalf of VIU President Dr. Ralph Nilson, highlighted the importance of having well equipped research and innovation facilities like the ICSS to enhance student learning experiences and ensure high quality applied research.

“"The vision for the ICSS is to become the knowledge and innovation hub supporting the development of a sustainable sturgeon aquaculture industry in BC,"” added ICSS Director, Don Tillapaugh. “"This summer we hosted 121 delegates from as far away as China and Russia, establishing a global network and putting VIU firmly on the sturgeon research map."”

Western Economic Diversification Canada works with the provinces, industry associations and communities to promote the development and diversification of the western economy, coordinates federal economic activities in the West and advances the interests of western Canadians in national decision making.

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