Canada: An aquaculture research centre that does contracts for companies around the world is now in operation in Souris, P.E.I., in a former fish plant that has been closed for years.
The Centre for Aquaculture Technologies Canada (CATC) is a wholly owned subsidiary of The Centre for Aquaculture Technologies, which is based in San Diego.
The centre researches new fish feed products for farmed fish and other fish health products for use in the aquaculture industry. That can be anything from fin fish, like salmon, to shellfish, like oysters or mussels.
CATC just wrapped a study that looked at soy protein as a feed ingredient for fish food and whether some fish perform better on a plant diet compared to a fish diet.
'It's really important for feeding a growing population to develop aquaculture to the same level that we've developed agriculture.'
— Debbie Plouffe, The Centre for Aquaculture Technologies
"Aquaculture is probably the fastest growing segment of agriculture in the world globally," said Debbie Plouffe, vice-president of research for The Centre for Aquaculture Technologies.
"In terms of providing healthy sources of lean protein, really the world is going to be looking to aquaculture and seafood to be providing what people need to eat going forward for our growing population."
Food for the future fish
Atlantic salmon that are part of nutrition research at The Centre for Aquaculture Technologies Canada in Souris, P.E.I. (Krystalle Ramlakhan/CBC)
"It's really important for feeding a growing population to develop aquaculture to the same level that we've developed agriculture," said Plouffe.
Plouffe said the type of work done at the centre is important in helping to dispel inaccurate information about farmed fish.
"The type of work that we do here is really generating data that our clients can believe in, our stakeholders and the community can believe in and really sort of lends credibility to new novel technologies that people are developing," she said.
21 people work at the centre — about half from P.E.I. The company hopes to have at least 30 employees by the end of next year.
Debbie Plouffe, vice-president for CATC, says the centre's work is important in helping to dispel inaccurate information about farmed fish. (Krystalle Ramlakhan/CBC)
There are about 10 different projects ongoing in the fields of fish nutrition and in fish health. The centre also does it's own internal research.
The Canadian operation is partly made up of former employees of AquaBounty, a genetically-modified salmon producer that also has a base in eastern P.E.I.
Plouffe said the Souris location was good because it had the infrastructure needed and the location has the water needed to run fish tanks.
workers at aquaculture research centre
About half of the 21 employees at The Centre for Aquaculture Technologies Canada are from P.E.I. (Krystalle Ramlakhan/CBC)
The centre also works with the Atlantic Veterinary College, "making Prince Edward Island sort of a focal point for aquatic animal health research in the world," said Plouffe.
The centre took environmental measures before construction started.
An environmental impact assessment was completed that was approved by the province. It's also certified and regulated by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. Plouffe said the centre is the only privately held contract research facility in the world that has that level of certification and containment for aquatic pathogens.