VIU Program Focuses on the Future of Food Security Through Aquaculture

VIU students examine a scallop held by Provan Crump, from Coastal Shellfish Ltd.

From left, Provan Crump, from Coastal Shellfish Ltd, and VIU undergraduate students Denman Moody, Chloe McLaughlin, Marissa Wright and Lauren Krzus learn about spawning scallops and the genetic selection program for shellfish at Deep Bay Marine Field Station. Dr. Timothy Green Photo

March 24, 2021 - 2:15pm

VIU’s new, unique aquaculture minor program allows students to combine it with either a Bachelor of Science or a Bachelor of Arts degree and prepares them for careers in the growing field of aquaculture.

People with a passion for creating food security solutions and advancing knowledge for sustainable and earth-friendly food production can now enroll in Vancouver Island University’s (VIU’s) new minor in Aquaculture. 

The minor, offered through either the Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts degree programs, will begin in September 2021.

The program is unique in British Columbia because VIU is currently the only post-secondary institution in the province to offer the option of taking aquaculture as a minor. The minor builds on VIU’s existing Aquaculture expertise, and the currently offered two-year Fisheries and Aquaculture Technology Diploma and a one-year Post-Degree Diploma in Fisheries and Aquaculture

“Students will learn about the life history, rearing and spawning of a wide variety of organisms – fish and a number of invertebrates – and the reason we use these protocols, says Dan Baker, a VIU Fisheries and Aquaculture Professor. “Brood stock genetics, stress mediation, performance physiology and pathogen biology are some of the many topics we cover. Many courses have a lab component to allow students to get hands-on learning experiences and take advantage of our professor-in-the-lab model of teaching, which is unique to Vancouver Island University.”

Students taking the Aquaculture minor will also have opportunities to participate in research projects investigating fish and shellfish health, growth, nutrition and performance plus work alongside nationally recognized researchers, technicians and graduate students from BC and around the world.

The program will prepare graduates to work in a variety of positions in aquatic food production, including management and technical services of large finfish or shellfish facilities, social and business aspects of aquatic and marine food production, and regulation and oversight of hatchery or grow out sites. The program also lays a strong foundational base for students who want to pursue graduate studies in aquaculture.

“VIU’s Minor in Aquaculture provides an excellent basis for acquiring the skills necessary to make a contribution to the sector,” says Jim Russell, Executive Director of the BC Shellfish Growers Association.

According to the Aquaculture Industry Labour Market Forecasts to 2025, Aquaculture has the most “positive growth outlook of any industry in the agriculture sector, with output expected to increase by an average of 4% per year.” The demand for workers within the industry is expected to rise by an average of 2.6% per year from now until 2025, and about 1,300 or 23% of jobs are expected to be unfilled because of demand for workers.

The courses offered for the BSc and BA are identical; however, offering the minor in both streams allows people the freedom to combine their minor with several other major options such as Biology, Chemistry, Math, Geography, Business, Digital Media, Indigenous/Xwulmulw Studies, Creative Writing and Journalism, to name a few.

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MEDIA CONTACT: 

Rachel Stern, Communications Officer, Vancouver Island University

C: 250.618.0373 l E: Rachel.Stern@viu.ca | T: @VIUNews


Tags: Fisheries and Aquaculture | Science & Technology | Announcements