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Work Starts on New Fish Health Lab

CANADA - The province of New Brunswick has joined forces with the Atlantic Veterinary College at the University of Prince Edward Island (UPEI) to build a new $2.36-million fish-health laboratory in the Bay of Fundy.

This week, the ground breaking ceremony took place to start the project with Fisheries Minister Rick Doucet, Dr. Larry Hammell of the Atlantic Veterinary College of P.E.I., Dr. Michael Beattie, chief fish health veterinarian for the province and outgoing St. George mayor Stan Smith.

The new laboratory will be built in St. George, New Brunswick and will be about 513 sq. metres (5,700 sq. ft.) in size. It will provide space for fish necropsies; diagnostic sample collection; preparation and storage; bacteriology and virology processing; disinfection capabilities; and data entry and processing stations.

New Brunswick Premier Shawn Graham said at the signing of the agreement for the project earlier this month: "We’re very pleased to partner with the Atlantic Veterinary College, which will position New Brunswick at the forefront of aquatic animal health science.

"Investments in fish health are essential for the aquaculture industry to continue to be an important player in the objective of New Brunswick achieving self-sufficiency by 2026."

The province of New Brunswick’s contribution to the project is $1.82 million. The Atlantic Veterinary College will provide $535,000, as part of a Canadian Foundation for Innovation grant, toward construction cost of the new facility.

The Atlantic Veterinary College, the region’s only veterinary college, has a global reputation for aquatic veterinary medicine, particularly for the practical applications to health and productivity concerns facing aquatic-food-animal producers in Atlantic Canada.

"The Atlantic Veterinary College at UPEI and the Government of New Brunswick have shared a strong partnership aimed at improving aquaculture health for almost two decades," University of Prince Edward Island President Wade MacLauchlan.

"We are proud to be moving our collaboration to this next level, and look forward to the educational, research, service and industry benefits that will result from today’s agreement."

The agreement recognises the long history of collaboration between the college and the Department of Agriculture and Aquaculture with respect to training veterinarians and graduate students, and serving the industry through research to solve fish-health issues.