Government of Canada Supports Innovation in British Columbia's Aquaculture Industry

Left to Right: Dan Hurley, VIU's Executive Director, University Relations; Dr. Ralph Nilson, VIU President and Vice-Chancellor; The Honourable Michelle Rempel, Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification; The Honourable John Duncan, Minister of State and Chief Government Whip.

April 8, 2015 - 12:45pm

April 8, 2015 – Nanaimo, British Columbia – Western Economic Diversification Canada

Today, the Honourable Michelle Rempel, Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification, announced funding of $667,000 to Vancouver Island University (VIU) to support a project that will enable them to purchase equipment and undertake a comparative analysis of new technologies in shellfish farming.

With this funding, VIU is proposing to advance shellfish hatchery design by integrating the latest technological developments into an operating hatchery at its Deep Bay Marine Field Station. The evaluation of these technologies will include research into techniques to better monitor and mitigate factors that are impeding shellfish seed production, including ocean acidification.

Ocean acidification (OA) is the result of a declining pH level in the water. This reduces the availability of shell-forming compounds, which in turn can lead to high hatchery mortality rates for shellfish, particularly in the larval stages. By constructing the hatchery and undertaking production runs of shellfish seed, VIU will work to address the various challenges faced by the shellfish industry, including OA.

Upon conclusion of the demonstration, VIU will share lessons learned through a series of targeted workshops to various stakeholders, including representatives of the shellfish industry and First Nations to help transfer the skills and knowledge required to operate a modern hatchery with successful outcomes.

Quick Facts

  • British Columbia’s aquaculture industry is an important contributor to the economy of resource-based coastal communities. It creates close to 6,000 jobs, which results in $224 million in wages for British Columbians.

  • The Deep Bay Marine Field Station is located in in the historic fishing community of Deep Bay, at the South end of Baynes Sound. The multi-use facility includes classrooms, laboratories and working shellfish farm in the nearby water. The facility received platinum LEED certification in 2013.


“British Columbia’s aquaculture industry is a significant component of the province’s economy. This project will help address the challenges faced by B.C.’s shellfish producers with the additional benefits of strengthening the sector, creating jobs and supporting Western Canada’s economy.”

-        The Honourable Michelle Rempel, Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification

 “VIU appreciates the support provided by the Government of Canada for the Deep Bay Marine Field Station facility and its research activities – first through the Knowledge Infrastructure Program (KIP) and today with this announcement. This funding will allow VIU to provide high quality facilities to conduct relevant community-based research with outcomes that support the University’s commitment to our industry and First Nations partners to help develop a thriving economy in our coastal communities.” 

-        Dr. Ralph Nilson, VIU’s President & Vice-Chancellor

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