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New Aquaculture Centre Opens In St Albans

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CANADA - The Honourable Kathy Dunderdale, Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, opened the new Centre for Aquaculture Health and Development in St. Albans on the provinces south coast. The $8.8 million facility is positioned strategically to service the provinces growing aquaculture industry.

Joining the Premier was the Honourable Clyde Jackman, Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture; Tracey Perry, MHA for Fortune Bay - Cape La Hune; Jennifer Woodland, President of the Newfoundland Aquaculture Industry Association (NAIA); and Rodney Kendall, Mayor of the Town of St. Alban’s.

“I am thrilled to be here in St. Alban’s to open the Centre for Aquaculture Health and Development,” said Ms Dunderdale.

“This state-of-the-art facility reflects the wonderful success of our expanding aquaculture industry. The centre will be an international model for aquatic diagnostics, marine biosecurity and energy conservation."

"It will ensure that Newfoundland and Labrador’s aquaculture resources are protected well into the future, and I am proud to see that the Newfoundland and Labrador aquaculture industry is leading the way in diagnostics for aquaculture producing regions across the globe.”

The provincial aquaculture industry has experienced unprecedented growth over the last five years in response to a high level of investment on the part of the Provincial Government. There has been a total investment of $22 million in aquaculture infrastructure over the last five years.

There have also been repayable investment attraction programmes, valued at $35 million, through the Aquaculture Capital Equity Program and the Aquaculture Working Capital Loan Guarantee Program, which have leveraged a total of $350 million in private sector investment in the province’s aquaculture industry.

The province’s aquaculture industry has been growing at an unprecedented rate in recent years. In 2010, production rose 12.7 per cent, from 13,627 tonnes in 2009 to 15,360 tonnes in 2010. The total market value of the industry has increased from $35 million in 2005 to $116 million in 2010. Aquaculture production is expected to increase again in 2011 with an expansion of the salmonid sector.

“While the Newfoundland and Labrador aquaculture industry has been growing at a very rapid pace, our government has worked hard to ensure that this growth has taken place in a sustainable manner,” said Minister Clyde Jackman.

“The Centre for Aquaculture Health and Development will further contribute to the biosecurity of our industry, thus enabling it to continue to attract investors who are confident in our diagnostic capacity and commitment to biosecurity.”

“The addition of the Centre for Aquaculture Health and Development will greatly enhance our ability to grow the aquaculture industry,” said Ms Perry.

“Today, the industry employs nearly 1,000 people directly or indirectly, and we have the potential to triple this. I am extremely proud to have reached this important milestone in our region’s development and look forward to the continued growth of this sector.”

The new facility will meet federal and international standards. It will provide for valid and reliable diagnostic results, in a timely manner. It will house provincial aquaculture development and aquatic animal health staff. New aquatic health professionals are being added to the Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture to further enhance the province’s fish health and clinical research capacity.

“We are very happy to have this state-of-the-art fish health facility and expertise right in our backyard to support our growing industry,” said Ms Woodland. “We welcome this provincial investment. Fish health is our number one priority and local access to these services is of great benefit to our industry.”

“The Town of St. Alban's is very pleased to be home to the Center for Aquatic Animal Health and Development,” said Mayor Kendall.

“The aquaculture industry is vital to the Coast of Bays Region and our province. Our towns envision this industry remaining healthy and prosperous for many generations to come. This facility is a key component of that vision. It is a great addition to the area and we are excited about the future of the aquaculture industry.”

The centre includes diagnostic laboratories that will provide opportunities for visiting researchers and students to undertake work that will also advance the province’s growing aquaculture industry.

“It is very gratifying to see the tangible results of our government’s significant investments and this centre will undoubtedly contribute very positively to both the aquaculture industry and to the Coast of Bays Region,” said Ms Dunderdale.

“Our government will continue to work with industry partners to further the growth and development of this exciting industry.”