Unique fish farm aims to dash environmental concerns
The people behind Canada's first closed-containment fish farm are hoping the $14-million pilot project will address some of the most serious environmental concerns about aquaculture.
AgriMarine's new 3,000-cubic-metre tank near Campbell River, B.C. is separated from the waters of the Strait of Georgia by solid walls, and all wastes are collected, pumped to shore, spun dry and composted.
"It's definitely a large step forward from what the current state of the art is in this industry," said Rob Walker, vice-president of AgriMarine.
"We'd like to think it's the future. We've certainly answered a lot of the areas of controversy and have come out with a pretty solid business plan based on the advantages."
The hope is that the 54,000 young Chinook salmon in the partially federally-funded tank will be healthier than farm-grown animals raised in nets, and won't escape or be lost to predators.
Environmentalists have fought against traditional net-based fish farms for years, arguing that the practice pollutes the water, leads to disease and can result in risky escapes of non-local species or diseased fish.
But activists are coming on-side with the new closed-containment system.
"It is hopefully a model for what will happen in the future. This is where we want this industry to go," said John Werring at the David Suzuki Foundation.
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Jim Beatty