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Fisheries and Aquaculture
March 2, 2009

Government of Canada and Province of Newfoundland and Labrador
Join with Cooke Aquaculture to Invest in a Cod Demonstration Farm
on Newfoundland�s South Coast

Senator Fabian Manning, Government of Canada and the Honourable Tom Hedderson, Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture, along with Mike Cooke, Chief Operating Officer, Cooke Aquaculture, today announced a $8.5 million project to develop a cod aquaculture demonstration farm in Newfoundland and Labrador.

"I am pleased to be in Newfoundland and Labrador today on behalf of the Government of Canada to announce the federal government�s contribution to this valuable project," said Senator Manning. "This project continues to place the province as a leader in the diversification of the Canadian aquaculture industry. And, when we invest in our aquaculture industry, we are investing in improved conservation, sustainable jobs and opportunity for the people of Newfoundland and Labrador for years to come."

The Government of Canada is committing $1.5 million to the project: the Department of Fisheries and Oceans is contributing $1 million under the Aquaculture Innovation and Market Access Program (AIMAP) and the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) is investing $500,000. ACOA�s investment of $500,000 is being provided through the Business Development Program (BDP), which is designed to help clients set up, expand or modernize their business. In Budget 2008, the provincial Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture allocated $2 million over four years to assist with the development of a cod demonstration farm.

A federal, provincial and industry committee worked together for over a year to carry out extensive analysis on cod demonstration farms. They reviewed existing literature, visited cod demonstration sites in Norway and engaged scientific and financial advisors. The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador then conducted a request for proposals process seeking an industry partner, resulting in Cooke Aquaculture being chosen as the successful applicant.

"Our government is pleased to be able to contribute to this extremely important aquaculture project to both the province and the country," said the Honourable Tom Hedderson. "Truly this is a cutting edge project that will assist our aquaculture industry in moving to the next level with cod aquaculture. We look forward to working with our partners in the industry to make this happen, as we recognize that aquaculture growth and development is extremely important to rural areas of the province. We are very pleased with the growth that we have seen in the provincial industry in the last three years and we look forward to further growth through cod aquaculture."

The main purpose of this project is to develop a commercial scale cod farm in the Coast of Bays region with a hatchery/nursery in Belleoram. It has been successfully demonstrated that cod can be grown from egg to market size in the waters of Newfoundland, and this larger scale operation will demonstrate the viability and feasibility of a commercial cod farm.

Cooke Aquaculture plans to stock 200,000 - 250,000 juveniles in year one and 400,000 cod annually for year two and three. The first year-class of fish will be harvested in year four. It is anticipated that further year-classes of cod will be stocked in subsequent years as the business continues to grow.

"Our company has already made a significant investment in the development of cod aquaculture in Atlantic Canada," said CEO Mike Cooke. "Our Alternate Species team has acquired considerable expertise and experience in this relatively new endeavor and our sales team has created a real interest in high quality fresh farmed cod in the marketplace. We are extremely pleased to be able to partner with both levels of government on this demonstration farm and look forward to working with them in bringing the region�s cod farming sector to full commercialization."

In addition to successfully bringing commercial quantities of cod to market, this project will also provide an opportunity to train students and workers in the area of cod farming, as well as providing an opportunity for further research and development to occur.

Seventeen new jobs will result from the cod demonstration project, in addition to a number of other employment opportunities in the processing, production and other supply and service sectors.

- 30 �

Media contacts:

Ann Matejicka
Director of Communications
Minister�s Office
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Bob Fagan
Regional Director of Communications
Newfoundland and Labrador
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Lori Lee Oates
Director of Communications
Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture
Government of Newfoundland and Labrador
Ross Butler
VP Operations
Cooke Aquaculture


Cod Demonstration Farm Project

The Newfoundland and Labrador Commercial Atlantic Cod Farm Demonstration Project will develop a commercial-scale cod farm in Newfoundland and Labrador. This project will use "best approach" techniques and equipment to successfully grow cod from fry through to market size, and show the technical and economic feasibility of cod farming in Newfoundland and Labrador.

This project will help to diversify the aquaculture sector in Newfoundland and Labrador, and also create sustainable jobs, growth and opportunity for rural communities and the people of the province. Seventeen new farm jobs will be created as part of this project, in addition to an undetermined number of jobs in processing and production, along with additional employment in other areas of the supply and service sector.

The sites for the demonstration farm will be in the Hermitage Bay area on the south coast of Newfoundland and Labrador. The former scallop hatchery at Belleoram will be refurbished and equipped to serve as a nursery.

A total of 200,000 - 250,000 cod will be stocked in the first year and an estimated 400,000 annually for years two and three. Juveniles will be supplied by Memorial University of Newfoundland�s Ocean Sciences Centre and the University of New Brunswick�s hatchery facility in Shippegan, New Brunswick. The eggs will be sourced from the two elite broodstocks developed in the respective provinces by the Genome Atlantic broodstock program.

The demonstration farm will be a multi-year undertaking, recognizing that harvesting and marketing of the first-year class of fish will not occur until year four.

On March 2, 2009, the Government of Canada and the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador announced a $8.5 million project to develop a cod aquaculture demonstration farm on Newfoundland�s South Coast. Fisheries and Oceans Canada will invest $1 million from the Aquaculture Innovation Program (AIMAP); and the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) is investing $500,000 from its Business Development Program (BDP). The Province of Newfoundland and Labrador has committed $2 million over four years.

Cooke Aquaculture, an independent family-owned aquaculture company based in Blacks Harbour, New Brunswick, employs 1,500 people in Atlantic Canada and Maine. It generates more than $270 million in annual sales while delivering a wide variety of high quality farmed seafood products to the Canadian and United States marketplace. Recognizing the tremendous potential for aquaculture in Newfoundland and Labrador, Cooke established its first salmon farms in the Fortune Bay area in 2006.

2009 03 02                                                      1:20 p.m.

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