Fisheries and Aquaculture
August 24, 2007

Government Moving Forward with
New Aquaculture Infrastructure on Province�s South Coast

New aquaculture infrastructure on the province�s south coast will ensure increased expansion of the aquaculture industry and enable it to become more competitive in attracting international investment says the Honourable Tom Rideout, Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture.

"A new aquatic veterinary diagnostic facility to be located in St. Alban�s and new wastewater treatment infrastructure for processing plants in the area are milestones that will strengthen the industry�s capacity to realize its vast potential, as well as generate new economic and employment growth in rural areas," said Minister Rideout, who was in St. Alban�s today to announce details of both initiatives.

Funding for both was provided in Budget 2007 � $1.2 million toward the estimated $4.3 million cost of the aquatic veterinary diagnostic facility, and $1.9 million for wastewater treatment equipment for processing facilities in the south coast region. Along with other funding, this increased the department�s funding for aquaculture to in excess of $14 million.

"Through our strategic investments, the salmonid industry on the south coast is seeing additional and substantial investment from companies both within and outside the province," said Minister Rideout. "The new investments for infrastructure will make the industry even more competitive with other aquaculture-producing regions and help ensure the industry�s long-term sustainability as well as that of rural areas where aquaculture can grow and thrive."

Minister Rideout said that since the funding for the aquatic veterinary diagnostic facility was first announced, the Provincial Government has issued a request for proposals to hire a consultant to assist with site selection, planning and design work for the facility. Submissions received are being reviewed, and a consultant will be selected in time to enable construction of the facility to begin in the spring of 2008, with completion expected in the same year.

"This new facility will enable government ensure that farmed seafood products in this province are kept in the healthiest state possible," said Minister Rideout. "This is a critical part of protecting the environment and ensuring the best margins for the companies that choose to come here and set up aquaculture operations."

The aquatic veterinary diagnostic facility will be the regional office for the Provincial Government�s aquaculture staff, and will house approximately 10 staff including development, aquaculture health and inspection personnel. The Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture is in the process of increasing its fish health capability and hiring staff who will work at the new facility.

"At present, some diagnostic samples must be sent out of the province for various testing procedures and this not only extends the time necessary for diagnosis, but makes it more difficult to manage the health of the farmed fish in a timely manner," said the minister. "The new facility will include laboratories to enable rapid diagnostic testing of growing fish and enable government�s aquatic health personnel to develop and use innovative diagnostic techniques that are currently not an option."

The facility will help the province ensure that its aquaculture resource is protected over the long-term through effective disease management while enabling producers to operate in an environmentally-sustainable manner.

"The new facility will meet federal and ISO international standards," said the minister. "It will be a model for aquatic diagnostics, effluent control and energy conservation. The result of maintaining such high laboratory standards is that validated, accurate diagnostic results will be achieved."

There will also be opportunities for visiting researchers and students to use the facility to complete work that will maintain the province�s leading edge in aquaculture-related research and development.

Minister Rideout also provided an update on the wastewater treatment infrastructure. He said the Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture has requested and received proposals from companies involved in seafood processing in the region, and the department is now working with the industry to ensure that wastewater treatment equipment is installed over the next six months.

Funding for wastewater treatment systems will be provided to the processing plants at Harbour Breton, Gaultois and Hermitage, all of which are located in the salmonid culture zone. These systems will allow all wastewater from fish processing activities to be thoroughly disinfected before being discharged. This will ensure that the water being released is free of any substance that could harm aquaculture species.

"This new infrastructure will give our province the opportunity to position itself among aquaculture producing regions that have the highest level of bio-security, fish health monitoring and surveillance, and will ensure the long-term sustainability of our industry," said Minister Rideout. "Our investments are putting the Newfoundland and Labrador aquaculture industry in a more competitive position relative to other salmon growing areas, in working to attract investment from across the globe."

The value of the aquaculture industry increased from $33.5 million in 2005 to $53.5 million in 2006 � a 60 per cent increase. At present there are 370 full-time equivalent positions in the province�s aquaculture industry.


Media contact:
Lori Lee Oates
Director of Communications
Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture
709-729-3733, 690-8403


Government Investment in Newfoundland and Labrador Aquaculture Industry

The Newfoundland and Labrador aquaculture industry is experiencing rapid growth in response to unprecedented investments by the Williams Government. This growth has come from investment by companies both within and outside the province.

In Budget 2007 $12.5 million is allocated under the Aquaculture Capital Equity Investment Program to attract investment and grow the province�s aquaculture industry. The budget also allocated $180,000 for aquaculture industry support programs. This was in addition to the $1.2 million toward the aquatic veterinary diagnostic facility in St. Alban�s, which is anticipated to cost a total of $4.3 million, and the $1.9 million for processing plant wastewater treatment equipment.

Government nearly tripled in the funding for aquaculture in Budget 2006, largely due to allocation of $10 million for the Aquaculture Capital Investment Program and funding for a cod demonstration farm. It is anticipated that these programs will add approximately 150 full-time jobs to the industry within the next two years, for a total of 350 new jobs in the aquaculture sector. Approximately 50 jobs have already been created to date.

This investment made a significant contribution to attracting the $155 million project currently being carried out by Cooke Aquaculture on the south coast of the province. It is the single largest aquaculture project in Canada, and will add in excess of 200 jobs to rural areas of the province.

Government has allocated $2 million over four years for the implementation of a cod demonstration farm. A request for proposals was issued this year and government is currently reviewing them.

The value of the province�s aquaculture industry has increased from $33.5 million in 2005 to $53.5 million in 2006 � a 60 per cent increase in a single year. During that time the production value of the industry increased from 8,164 to 10,400 metric tons.

2007 08 24                                               11:25 a.m.


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