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Steelhead farmer sets sights on land-based Chinook salmon production

Pacific Salmon Trout Recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS) +4 more

Taste of BC Aquafarms, which has been farming steelhead in a RAS facility since 2013, has taken its first steps in the production of Chinook salmon this year.

Taste of BC was once of the world's first companies in the world to grow market-sized steelhead in a RAS facility

© Taste of BC Aquafarms

Blue Star Foods, Taste of BC’s parent company, has announced that it has hatched its first batch of Chinook, which are also known as king salmon.

According to Blue Star, “the fish are performing well in growth trials with good FCR, growth and very low mortality”.

It now intends to raise them to an average size of 3 kg as it evaluates the potential of future species diversification.

It’s been a busy year for Taste of BC, which entered into a $1 million, 2-year agreement to supply steelhead fingerlings to another company in British Columbia in December. The first delivery of those fingerlings is currently scheduled for Q3-2022.

The Q2 announcement added that the company intends to complete the construction of its new, state-of-the-art hatchery in Q3, which will “allow it to evaluate the performance of the next generation designs planned for its large-scale expansion before they are finalized”.

Over the last 6 months, ending June 30, 2021, the average fish harvest weight has been 1.94 kg, just below its 2kg minimum threshold. Meanwhile the total harvest downgrade percentage was 1.3 percent, while the feed conversion ratio (FCR) was 1.18 kg feed for every kilo of fish produced – an improvement on the industry standard for open net pens, which is 1.2, according to Blue Star.

Ben Atkinson, president of Taste of BC said: “The first six months of 2022 have been focused on increasing standing biomass within our pilot facility as we continue to limit test system capabilities. At the end of Q2-2022, we finished with a standing biomass of 40MT in our facility, which was originally designed for 27MT, without compromising water conditions or fish performance. We are extremely pleased with the capabilities of our pilot system which provides a solid foundation upon which we are designing our forthcoming expansion.”