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Closed containment net-bag for salmon aquaculture. (Photo: agf.gov.bc.ca)

DFO recognises potential of closed containment methods

Click on the flag for more information about Canada CANADA
Friday, November 26, 2010, 01:00 (GMT + 9)

The Coastal Alliance for Aquaculture Reform (CAAR) has lauded the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) for acknowledging the important potential of closed containment technology for salmon aquaculture to replace net-cage methods that jeopardize their surrounding natural marine environment. DFO’s new report discusses the economic viability of closed containment operations and advocates for the construction of a pilot scale or demonstration system.

Closed containment is a practice that entails enclosing fish in floating containers or land-based farms to lessen their damage caused to neighbouring waters.

Called “The Feasibility Study of Closed-Containment Options for the British Columbia (BC) Aquaculture Industry,” the report says that net pen and land-based recirculation aquaculture systems (RAS) may breed encouraging returns and lower capital and operating costs once adopted extensively.

DFO is urging the completion of a thorough analysis of the technology’s technical and financial potential, saying the findings would profit government, industry and the environmental community by spurring continued innovation and identifying the possible limits and risks of closed containment methods.

Schematic Drawing of FutureSEA Technologies’ SEA System (Draw: DFO, Reproduced with permission from Future SEA Technologies © 2008)

“This new study shows that closed containment salmon farming is economically viable, something we have said for years,” said David Lane of T Buck Suzuki Environmental Foundation and CAAR. “In fact, numerous companies are moving ahead with plans for closed containment in BC, creating a potential multi-million dollar sustainable salmon farming industry, with new jobs and an economic boost for coastal communities.”

The report advises the building of a pilot scheme at commercial scale to show how the system is feasible both in terms of technology and capital in real world conditions. Having long pushed for government investment to help expand the technology, CAAR is requesting that the federal government apportion funds in next year’s federal budget for this use.

“Our federal government must step up to the plate now to ensure that this green technology moves forward quickly so that Canada can capitalize on this enormous opportunity in sustainable aquaculture,” declared Catherine Stewart of Living Oceans Society and CAAR.

The Alliance said it is collaborating with Marine Harvest Canada on its proposal for a commercial‐ scale pilot project. The company is now going through a site selection process on Vancouver Island and thus far maintains a preference for the North Island.

Related articles:

- Lice infests wild salmon all along BC coast: study 
- Seafood Watch lauds sustainable salmon-farming method 

By Natalia Real



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