VIU’s Deep Bay Marine Station could play important role in supporting marine agri-food businesses. — Vancouver Island University photo

VIU’s Deep Bay Marine Station could play important role in supporting marine agri-food businesses. — Vancouver Island University photo

VIU’s Deep Bay station being considered for regional seafood innovation centre

Site one of six across the province to receive funding for feasibility study or business plan

Vancouver Island University’s Deep Bay Marine Field Station has been identified as a potential location for the establishment of a regional food innovation centre.

Deep Bay is one of six sites in the province to receive funding from the provincial government to develop a feasibility study or business plan to determine the potential and capacity to offer a food processing centre in their region.

“We are grateful for the support from the Ministry of Agriculture,” said manager Carl Butterworth, in a VIU press release. “This is an exciting opportunity for the Deep Bay Marine Field Station. We have the majority of infrastructure in place already and the potential is there to become a world-recognized seafood product innovation centre on Canada’s West Coast.”

The facility, a marine biological research facility in Bowser that is operated by the university’s Centre for Shellfish Research, is close to the majority of shellfish operations on the Island.

The Ministry of Agriculture launched the B.C. Food Innovation Network in November 2018 as part of the Feed B.C. mandate. The network will be made up of regional food hubs, linking food producers and processors with shared technology, research and development, production equipment, expertise and services. Once completed it will provide food, beverage and natural health products manufacturers in B.C. with tools, resources and expertise to innovate and commercialize products to grow their businesses, the release noted.

Deep Bay received $62,500 from the province to complete a feasibility study for a Seafood Innovation Centre integrated into the existing research centre.

MRSB Consulting Services in association with Peter Crooks, the former executive director of Canada’s Smartest Kitchen, a food product and brand development centre at the Culinary Institute of Canada in Charlottetown, was contracted to complete the study.

Opportunities exist for students in a variety of departments such as marketing, graphic design, business and the culinary arts program to receive training and participate in the activities of the Seafood Innovation Centre, gaining expertise in new and value-added product development, the release notes.

For an expanded version of this article, click here.

— NEWS Staff, submitted