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Closed Containment Trial Produces Excellent Salmon

23 February 2012

CANADA - The Conservation Fund Freshwater Institute (TCFFI) and the Atlantic Salmon Federation (ASF) are very pleased with the health, growth , and quality of farmed Atlantic salmon that TCFFI is now harvesting from land-based, closed-containment facilities in Shepherdstown, West Virginia.

Since May, 2011, ASF and TCFFI have grown salmon of Saint John, NB river strain and have achieved exceptional quality and survival of the fish. The farmed salmon have grown without incident of sea lice or disease and this has been accomplished without the use of harsh chemicals, antibiotics or vaccines. In addition, 99.8 per cent of water flowing through the system is continuously cleaned and returned to tanks and 99 per cent of fish waste solids is controlled and captured.

ASF President Bill Taylor said: “These fish are doing very well and the trial is proving that we don’t need the ocean to produce farmed Atlantic salmon for market. Our fish are getting good reviews on their taste and attracting attention from government, industry, and conservation-oriented consumers.”

“We plan”, continued Mr Taylor, “to hold a workshop at our headquarters in St. Andrews, NB in October 2012 to provide mentoring resources and emerging information on farming salmon in closed containment facilities. The workshop is intended to assist the salmon aquaculture industry, government regulators, funders and conservation advocates in making future decisions on the use of closed-containment systems for farming salmon in New England, the mid-Atlantic, and Atlantic Canada.”

ASF has served its closed containment farmed salmon at dinners in New York City and St. Andrews, NB, and has received encouraging feedback. More taste-testing is planned for fund-raising dinners this spring. Mr Taylor continued: “Last November, ASF appeared before the Fisheries and Oceans Standing Committee on Closed Containment Aquaculture in Ottawa and delivered a presentation on the importance of transitioning from open sea cages to closed containment aquaculture facilities to protect wild salmon, their environment and their economic value.”

“A recent report by Gardner Pinfold Consulting Economists Ltd. of Halifax, NS valued wild Atlantic salmon at C$255 million in 2010”, continued Mr Taylor. “It’s important to protect these valuable wild salmon from loss due to negative interactions with farmed salmon in the form of disease, parasites, and genetic mixing that weakens the wild gene pool. ASF is pleased that the Standing Committee on Closed Containment Aquaculture is interested in our project.”

The Atlantic Salmon Federation is dedicated to the conservation, protection and restoration of wild Atlantic salmon and the ecosystems on which their well being and survival depend.

ASF has a network of seven regional councils (New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, Maine and Western New England). The regional councils cover the freshwater range of the Atlantic salmon in Canada and the United States.

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