Fisheries and Aquaculture
October 27, 2006

More than 200 New Direct Jobs for Rural Newfoundland and Labrador
Millions to be Invested in South Coast Aquaculture

The Honourable Loyola Hearn and the Honourable Peter MacKay on behalf of Canada�s New Government, along with the Honourable Tom Rideout and the Honourable Trevor Taylor on behalf of the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, and representatives from Cooke Aquaculture today stood shoulder to shoulder to announce a significant new aquaculture project for the south coast of Newfoundland.

Through federal, provincial and private sector investments in excess of $155 million, Newfoundland and Labrador�s farmed salmon production is about to triple and over 200 new full-time, year-round jobs will be created. Additional indirect jobs will also be created in the aquaculture processing, supply and service sectors.

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) is contributing $4.5 million; the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) is investing $6 million; and the provincial Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture (DFA) is investing $10 million; while Cooke Aquaculture Inc., an independent salmon farming company based in New Brunswick, is investing $135 million towards the project.

"This investment is exactly the type of shot in the arm that this area needs," said Loyola Hearn, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and Regional Minister for Newfoundland and Labrador. "I'm proud that my department will be able to help fund a project like this, which is significant both for the aquaculture industry, and for our great province of Newfoundland and Labrador."

"This investment reflects Canada�s New Government�s priorities of investing in people, communities, new ideas and business growth," said Peter MacKay, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of ACOA. "This is a large project with the potential to create over 200 full-time, year-round jobs for the people of Newfoundland and Labrador."

"This is truly a great day for our province and the aquaculture industry in Newfoundland and Labrador," said Tom Rideout, Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture. "We are witnessing the coming of age of an industry and new hope for rural communities. Our government is pleased to invest $10 million dollars in this very worthwhile business venture. There will also be many indirect jobs created as a result of this project and the number will grow as the aquaculture industry develops. Our government has made significant investments in aquaculture and more than doubled provincial expenditures for aquaculture in Budget 2006. Today we are seeing the results of that investment."

"This is an important initiative that creates year-round work for people in rural Newfoundland and Labrador," said Trevor Taylor, Minister of Innovation, Trade and Rural Development. "The people of the area have worked hard for many years to create a local aquaculture industry. This latest development should ensure that the industry grows to its full potential."

Over the next three years, Cooke Aquaculture will enter 3 million smolts (young salmon) annually into new farms on the south coast of Newfoundland and Labrador. This will generate an annual production of approximately 17.8 thousand wfe (whole fish equivalent) metric tonnes with an estimated value of $86.5 million. In keeping with its strategy of full integration, Cooke will build a recirculation hatchery, open a state-of-the-art processing facility and develop a supporting fleet of service vessels and feed barges. This joint investment will create the critical mass necessary to position the aquaculture industry in Newfoundland and Labrador for further growth. It will provide an immediate and long-term economic stimulus in the rural and coastal communities of the province�s south coast.

"The aquaculture industry in Newfoundland and Labrador is a success story just waiting to happen. We on the east coast must take matters into our own hands and create our own destiny," said Glenn Cooke, CEO of Cooke Aquaculture. "More than anything I want to realize the full potential for aquaculture in Atlantic Canada. And that potential isn�t just about making money. It�s about creating jobs and it�s about growing healthy families and communities."

DFO�s investment is through the Aquaculture Collaborative Research and Development program (ACRDP). ACOA�s investment is from the Business Development Program (BDP) and the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador is investing through the Aquaculture Capital Incentive Program.

Cooke Aquaculture is an independent family-owned aquaculture company based in Blacks Harbour, New Brunswick with 1200 employees, more than $200 million in annual sales and operations in the Atlantic Provinces and the State of Maine. The Company also farms cod and is expanding its use of integrated multi-trophic aquaculture farming operations which is an innovative approach where kelps, mussels and salmon are grown on the same site with a view to enhancing productivity and environmental sustainability.

Media contacts:

Michelle Brazil
Press Secretary, Office of the Minister
Department of Fisheries and Oceans
Julie Afonso
A/Director, Communications
Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency
Lori Lee Oates
Director, Communications
Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture
Government of Newfoundland and Labrador
709-729-3733 / 709-690-8403
Nell Halse
Director, Communications
Cooke Aquaculture


The Governments of Canada and Newfoundland and Labrador have partnered with Cooke Aquaculture on a $156 million project to realize the potential for economic and social development in the province�s coastal communities. The project�s intent is the development of a strong nucleus of a finfish aquaculture industry on the south coast of Newfoundland. It is being initiated and led by an Atlantic Canadian company with a proven track record of profitability, growth and success and a strong contingent of Newfoundland professionals on its management team. This collaboration is grounded in a belief in the future of the coastal communities of Newfoundland and Labrador. It is a carefully researched and thought out plan. The scale of the project is made possible by the commitment and support of its partners: the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency and Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

Cooke Aquaculture Inc.
Cooke Aquaculture Inc. is investing in clusters of state-of-the-art salmon farms on the south coast of Newfoundland, a recirculation salmon hatchery, a processing facility and the necessary infrastructure of service vessels. Cooke�s plan will lead to an annual production of 17.8 thousand metric tonnes (whole fish equivalent) worth $86.5 Million annually. This will triple the value of the current salmon farming industry valued at $26 Million in 2005.

Current NL Operations: (already underway)

  • Construction and installation of first cluster of 3 sites in Fortune Bay
  • 28 full time employees currently working in Belleoram area
  • stocking of 3 million salmon from its mainland hatcheries into NL farms in Fortune Bay nearly complete
  • Installation of the first North American 150 meter cage systems designed by GMG (Cooke�s manufacturing division) and subcontracted for construction to a Newfoundland firm in Boxey, NL. The first prototypes are currently on site in Fortune Bay.
  • Completion of the first phase of site assessment work in Placentia Bay for future expansion
  • Site analysis for a processing facility
  • Site analysis for the construction of a NL recirculation hatchery that will eventually meet the Company�s NL smolt requirements
  • Evaluation of the potential for NL boat yards to construct future feed barges
  • Fisheries and Oceans Canada:
    Fisheries and Oceans Canada will invest $4.5 million over the next three years through its Aquaculture Collaborative Research Program (ACRDP)

    Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency:
    ACOA is investing $6 million through its Business Development Program (BDP)

    Province of Newfoundland and Labrador:
    The Province of Newfoundland and Labrador is investing $10 million through the Aquaculture Capital Incentive Program.

    Summary of Project Benefits:

  • The total project is expected to generate in excess of 200 person years of employment on an annualized basis once all aspects are fully operational. This does not include any construction or spin-off activities such as construction of feed barges or cages, trucking activity, and contracted services such as diving etc.
  • Freshwater and saltwater fish production will generate a total of 79 full-time and 27 seasonal jobs once the hatchery is operational and the second cluster of sites is developed.
  • Harvesting and processing operations will employ 120 people on a full-time basis.
  • All of this employment is generated around salmon. Any cod aquaculture development will generate incremental employment.
  • Cooke is prepared to establish a multi-species processing line within its plant operations to process any locally sourced inshore or offshore fish that may be available. Any jobs associated with this initiative will also be incremental.
  • Opportunities for additional employment will increase as the industry develops
  • Economic and Social:

  • Cooke will work with industry associations and all levels of government to attract capital investment, and the support of banks, service industries and feed suppliers. This will address two major impediments to the growth of the province�s aquaculture industry: the need to attract capital and access to low cost feed.
  • These investments will be supported by locally developed aquaculture training programs offered by community colleges, university and private training institutions in Newfoundland and Labrador.
  • The economic impact of this investment is expected to mirror the growth and diversification created by aquaculture in Charlotte County, New Brunswick as outlined in the 2001 report: "Salmon Aquaculture in New Brunswick: Natural Development of our Marine Heritage." Prior to the advent of the aquaculture industry to Charlotte County, the region�s economy was based on the inshore fishery and natural resources and was experiencing high unemployment, seasonal jobs and out migration - the same issues that are currently facing coastal communities in Newfoundland and Labrador.
  • Aquaculture is expected to create the economic stimulus that will lead to meaningful, skilled, year round employment and will attract and retain the youth of Newfoundland and Labrador. Cooke�s current workforce of 1200 has an average age of 40 years.
  • A healthy and vibrant aquaculture industry will attract researchers, scientists, veterinarians and government support services to the region.
  • Healthy families supported by full-time and long-term jobs will strengthen the social fabric of coastal communities in Newfoundland and Labrador as a family company with deep roots in the east coast, Cooke continues to invest and re-invest in infrastructure, people and communities. This includes annual family events, local infrastructure projects such as the new roof for the Blacks Harbour arena, and ongoing contributions to charitable causes.
  • Infrastructure, Innovation and Technology Transfer:

  • A practical operational knowledge base will be created through the introduction of novel large cage culture of finfish and associated grow-out systems. This includes cages, nets and mooring systems that have been proven in Bay of Fundy conditions but are being adapted and scaled up to meet NL conditions with a possible application to cod.
  • Scientific information on hydrographic, environmental and weather related interactions between the operation and the surrounding environment.
  • Development of a large scale recirculation hatchery designed to meet the needs of NL operations
  • Establish a state-of-the-art environmentally sound salmon processing facility modeled on the successful NB operations
  • Investigate the potential for well boat live haul technology in a Newfoundland and Labrador application
  • Work with local industry and government to develop and ensure full compliance with Biosecurity protocols to ensure the sustainable development of the province�s growing industry
  • Work with the industry and government to optimize marketing resources for the Atlantic Canadian finfish aquaculture industry. This will bring critical mass to Cooke�s ability to lever marketing dollars for the full benefit of the NL industry
  • NL industry will benefit from the volume of Cooke�s investment and subsequent buying power from aquaculture supplier network i.e. feed, insurance, etc.
  • NL industry will benefit from the experience and the technical expertise of Cooke�s management team within areas such as fish health, marketing, feed management, broodstock development, alternate species development and production and husbandry methods.
  • This investment and the volume of production will support economies of scale and the 3 site / year class separation system necessary to meet Biosecurity and fallowing requirements.
  • Cooke is the largest North American farmer of cod with a current investment of $5 million into its cod program and is an industrial partner in the Cod Genome project. The Company harvested its first commercial crop of farmed cod in the spring of 2006 and currently has 750,000 cod growing in New Brunswick farms. It hopes to maximize the unlimited potential of the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador for the full commercialization of cod aquaculture in North America.
  • Global Trends:

    The aquaculture industry in Atlantic Canada and Newfoundland and Labrador is positioned to take advantage of several long-term trends:

  • The growth of the Asian economy and the resultant world-wide increase in the demand for protein and the shift in the allocation of proteins.
  • The aging North American population and the demand for more healthy food products. Increased salmon consumption has the opportunity to decrease long term health care costs.
  • The desire for enhanced environmental management and sustainability. Aquaculture is one of the most environmentally sustainable forms of industrial food production.
  • The interest in moving the farming of alternate species such as cod from the R&D level to full commercialization.
  • 2006 10 27                                                  9:20 a.m.

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