Aquaculture for all

Taste of BC applies for 1,500 tonne steelhead RAS

Trout Recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS) Land-based production systems +6 more

Taste of BC Aquafarms, has submitted an application to Canada’s Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) for a RAS capable of producing 1,500 tonnes of steelhead a year.

aerial view of a land-based salmon farm proposal
The proposed site for the new steelhead farm

Taste of BC operates the oldest continuously operating recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) full grow-out salmon farm in North America. © Taste of BC Aquafarms

The proposed facility in Campbell River, BC will use Taste of BC's module-based recirculating aquaculture system (RAS). Construction is anticipated to commence Q2 2023, with an investment of approximately $35 million.

"Since the Government of Canada has committed to a transition of the ocean-based salmon farming industry to more sustainable and environmentally sensitive technologies, we are excited to be able to lead in the development of land-based salmon farming here in BC. Our approach certainly meets their objectives, and we anticipate strong support from DFO for this project," said Steve Atkinson, managing director, Taste of BC Aquafarms, in a press release.

"Salmon farming is a vital part of our economy here on Vancouver Island and we look forward to being a major part of its future. This is the first of several farms we intend to build."

John Keeler, Chairman and CEO of Blue Star Foods, Taste of BC’s parent company, commented: "Our current facility in BC has proven our technology, growing salmon since 2013 and harvesting since 2014, with an annual target of 100 MTs. This new proposed facility will be built in modules, essentially replicating what our team has done successfully over the years, and will be situated on land that has ample room for additional expansion in the future. The expected $35 million investment will come from government backed loans, grants and a special purpose vehicle (SPV) we are in midst of forming. The SPV will be marketed through various networks that have had past success in raising money for infrastructure projects and companies. Of note, the capital requirement is needed over time and the SPV structure will have continuous closings, enabling us to access capital as it is needed. We expect to launch the SPV in January."

The proposed site is co-located with a local distillery and barley farm. The 380-acre site features abundant fresh water with capacity for future expansion. The salmon farm will operate with zero discharge off-site by capturing the water and nutrient discharges from the facility to fertilise the adjacent crops.

"I am pleased to co-operate with others on the property in our shared vision for sustainable, local food production." said Ben Atkinson, CEO, Taste of BC Aquafarms. "The nutrient created by growing salmon will be used to grow barley which in turn will be distilled into spirits. In this facility we will grow our salmon with innovative technology that respects the environment and ensures no contact with wild salmon species on our coast."

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