Vancouver Island University’s Deep Bay Marine Field Station will use $667,000 from the federal government to aid in researching threats to shellfish.
Brian Kingzett, field station manager, said the Western Economic Diversification Canada money will go toward establishment of a research platform aimed at shellfish seed production, which has been on the decline for almost 10 years.
Impacts include the acidification of the ocean, which he said affects the ability of shellfish hatcheries to produce larvae.
“On one end, we’re going to bring in new technologies from all around the world and show how they work best and aggregate these emerging technologies, some from the greenhouse industry, some from the water purification industry and reassemble them all into what we call the next generation shellfish hatcheries that we’ve become a leader in these technologies here in B.C.,” said Kingzett.
The research will also address operating efficiencies and act as a training platform for students, industry and First Nations, he said.
Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification Michelle Rempel was at the Nanaimo university campus Wednesday for the announcement and said the aquaculture industry is an important one for the Canadian economy.
“I know that it’s a multimillion-dollar business here in B.C. – I think the stat I had in my notes was somewhere over $220 million in terms of revenue on annual basis – and thousands of jobs, so when issues emerge … we want to make sure that we’re partnering with both industry and thought leaders, like the ones at the university, to ensure we’re addressing those issues,” said Rempel.
Kingzett said the money will allow the university to become a leader in shellfish hatchery research and aid the local shellfish aquaculture industry.