Keith Hutchings, Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture, announced the funding, which will help the Newfoundland Aquaculture Industry Association establish and test this powerful tool for monitoring sea lice prevalence and evaluating control programs.
“Sea lice naturally occur in ocean environments and can impact many species, but with this internet-based software system, the industry will have far greater capacity to monitor and mitigate the impact on farmed fish. This C$80,000 investment is in keeping with the millions invested in other types of infrastructure to ensure aquaculture in this province is always following best practices,” said Keith Hutchings, Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture.
The funding for this project was provided jointly by the Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture and the Department of Innovation, Business, and Rural Development. The innovative software was initially developed by the Atlantic Veterinary College at the University of Prince Edward Island, and has been used with great success in New Brunswick thus far.
“One of the many ways the Provincial Government promotes the success of industries within the province is to support the pursuit of best practices, and this project is a great example of that. By integrating this leading edge software into an already comprehensive program of fish health monitoring, the industry will be well positioned to maintain its strong reputation as a quality source of farmed seafood for the long-term,” said Susan Sullivan, Minister of Innovation, Business and Rural Development.
As the software is established throughout Atlantic Canada, it will help operators and scientists in different provinces compare and contrast data trends over several years, which in turn will provide valuable information to regulators, veterinarians, and provincial governments.
“The infrastructure that has been established in the Coast of Bays over the last few years has positioned the provincial aquaculture industry to be a world leader with respect to producing sustainable, high-quality aquaculture products. The economic opportunities in aquaculture are huge, but provincial operators can only take advantage if they can compete worldwide, and infrastructure investments like these put them in a position to do that,” said Tracey Perry, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Innovation, Business and Rural Development and MHA for Fortune Bay – Cape La Hune.
Minister Hutchings made the announcement after touring the Centre for Aquaculture Health and Development in St. Alban’s - another major fish health initiative supported by the Provincial Government.
"Salmon farmers have a long history of investing in new technology and science-based research to help them grow their fish and feed the world. This software is another important tool in the management of sea lice. The recent investments in aquaculture inflow wharfs, the Centre for Aquaculture Health and Development and now this software will greatly help us continue to build an innovative aquaculture industry that brings jobs to coastal communities,” said Miranda Pryor, Executive Director, Newfoundland Aquaculture Industry Association.
Pilot testing of the software is expected to be complete by the end of this year.