Doug Routley, Nanaimo-North Cowichan MLA and co-chair of B.C.’s Wild Salmon Advisory Council, left, and Jonathan Wilkinson, federal minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, listen as Steve Atkinson, A Taste of B.C. president, speaks during a fisheries and aquaculture funding announcement at Pacific Biological Station on Thursday. CHRIS BUSH/ The News Bulletin

Nanaimo fish farm gets federal cash to cut carbon footprint

Land-based steelhead farm switching to solar water heating, eliminating oil-fired boiler

A Nanaimo fish farming company will go solar thanks to an injection of federal cash.

Jonathan Wilkinson, federal minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard was at the Pacific Biological Station Thursday to sprinkle cash to the fisheries and aquaculture industry on the Island.

Wilkinson announced about $1.1 million was coming from the $20-million fisheries and aquaculture clean technology adoption program, a four-year program created to help businesses incorporate clean technologies into their operations.

“For the commercial fishing sector this funding is helping harvesters adopt alternative clean technology to power their vessels, to make modifications to their equipment and fishing practices and to adopt technologies to improve catch monitoring,” Wilkinson said in his address. “For the aquaculture sector, it is helping to improve the industry’s environment for productivity and performance by increasing the use of energy-efficient equipment, by integrating technologies, such as solar power and by implementing waste management upgrades.”

Doug Routley, Nanaimo-North Cowichan MLA and co-chair of B.C.’s Wild Salmon Advisory Council, announced an additional $183,448 contribution from the province.

The money will be spread among 15 projects on the Island, Lower Mainland and Sunshine Coast, which included a project by Nanaimo land-based fish farm Taste of B.C. Aquafarms, which received $43,488 to install a solar water heating system that will replace an oil-fired boiler that will eliminate the farm’s oil consumption and shrink its carbon footprint.

Steve Atkinson, company president, said how much money the system will save the company will depend on temperature averages throughout each year.

The company, which began production in 2013, produces about 100 tonnes of steelhead salmon sold in markets locally and internationally.

“It’s going to save us about 17 tonnes of carbon … We’ve completely eliminated the oil this year and that’ll be it. We’ll go solar and I hope, long-term, we’ll add some solar electric as well,” Atkinson said. “I really have not calculated the dollar saving because this project isn’t really about dollars and cents. It’s really about carbon footprint. We’ve really calculated on BTUs. How many BTUs are we producing through solar and it’s about 10 per cent of our carbon footprint.”

Atkinson said without the federal and provincial money the company would not have installed solar water heating.

“The capital cost of solar, the payback is still about 20 years,” He said. “These technologies, they’re great idea, but in this climate it’s really hard to make a business case for doing it on a purely financial basis and when it comes to a small business, purely financial comes first because we have to survive.”

To learn more about the funding announcement and the companies and organizations that will benefit, click here.
Like us on
Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Opal frustrations creating danger

Traffic-calming on Opal Road has increased driving speeds on Rock City Road, says letter writer

RDN bylaw allows people experiencing homelessness to camp overnight in some parks

Board of directors unanimously passes park use regulations bylaw

RDN board passes budget but concerned about ‘enormous’ costs

Regional District of Nanaimo tax requisitions will increase $34-$56 this year

Nanaimo high school jazz students unite for JazzFest

Vancouver-raised jazz vocalist Laila Biali will join students on the Port Theatre stage

Commute in Nanaimo slowed as SUV goes up onto highway barrier, gets stuck

Accident happened at 5 p.m. on old Island Highway and Highland Boulevard

Rail disruptions expected to continue after new protest sites emerge

Nationwide rail and road blockades have been popping up for weeks

Protecting privacy key to stopping spread of COVID-19, B.C. health officials say

The number of coronavirus cases in B.C. remains at seven

COLUMN: Forestry no longer close to top of B.C.’s economy

Our reactions to a forestry downturn reflect the past, not the present

Caught on camera: Police release video of man who allegedly stole seaplane in Vancouver

Police say the man broke into the Harbour Air terminal and then got into one of the seaplanes in the harbour

51 health professionals send letter to Trudeau, Horgan panning northern B.C. pipeline

They point to studies about the health and climate change risks from pipeline

Fake meat and a latte? Starbucks adds Beyond Meat in Canada

The Seattle roaster has talked about introducing plant-based patties in the U.S., but has yet to do so

Groundhogs got it wrong: spring isn’t coming soon, Weather Network says

The only part of B.C. to warm up early will be Victoria

Toffoli scores OT winner as Canucks beat Habs 4-3

Demko makes 37 saves for Vancouver

Most Read