The Newfoundland Aquaculture Industry Association (NAIA), the Miawpukek First Nation in Conne River, and Bay d’Espoir-based Newfoundland Aqua Service Ltd. will share a pot of $287,000 earmarked for infrastructure and innovation technologies to help them meet the demands of the industry in the Coast of Bays.
Newfoundland Aqua Service Ltd., which supplies products and services to aquaculture operators, including net cleaning, will receive $100,000 for custom-designed technology to improve its operations.
Company president Boyd Pack told the Advertiser the company will buy a piece of equipment that helps remove copper from water that has been used to clean nets. Currently that water has to be evaporated when it reaches a certain contamination point and that process is very expensive.
The new equipment will allow the company to reuse the water more often.
The NAIA is receiving $55,000 to help introduce new software developed at the Atlantic Veterinary College for use in fish health management.
This project will help operators monitor and control health issues such as sea lice in farmed salmon.
The government is contributing $7,500 to help aquaculture companies better manage industry waste through ensiling, which is basically making fish fodder from waste.
“Ensiling basically involves taking dead or dying fish and fish waste, adding formic acid that renders the material in a slightly acidic format,” said NAIA president Cry Couturier. “The process stabilizes the protein in the discarded waste into protein which can be used for fertilizer or as food that can be used by animals such as pigs. The process also adds to biosecurity levels in the industry, as any pathogens that might be in discarded fish are killed in the ensiling process.
“At the end of the ensiling process, you have silage, which is a high-quality product that hopefully companies can sell.”
Couturier said another advantage of ensiling is that discarded fish won’t need to be dumped at the landfill or put through a heat rendering process for disposal.
“These methods of disposal are very expensive and are not good for the environment,” he said.
“The industry in the province did not use ensiling in the past because our production levels were too small to warrant using the process.”
Shayne McDonald, an official with the Miawpukek First Nation in Conne River, said they are getting $125,000 from the provincial government to expand the community’s wharf. That amount was matched by the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) and the band added another $250,000 to the project.
“When you have a very busy wharf with plenty of vessels coming and going, you need more space in the upland area to handle the extra congestion,” McDonald said.
“This extra space will allow us to store aquaculture gear and equipment and feed. Overall, it will enable the operations at the wharf to proceed in more smooth-flowing manner.”