ANALYSIS - The Canadian government is to back the expansion of an environmentally, economically and socially sustainable aquaculture industry through the introduction of new legislation.
The details of the new aquaculture legislation are in response to concerns raised in a study by the Standing Senate Committee on Fisheries and Oceans.
The support for the expansion of a sustainable aquaculture sector in Canada is contained in a three volume report An Ocean of Opportunities: Aquaculture in Canada, which puts forward a series of recommendations for the development of the industry.
“The new Act will express strong federal support for aquaculture, legitimise the industry and acknowledge its important economic contribution to rural and coastal communities,” the report says.
The report recommends that the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans should be able to veto any proposed aquaculture site that in the minister’s opinion poses an unacceptable risk to wild fish or fish habitat or has other environmental risks.
As well as examining the aquaculture sector in Canada as a whole and by region, the report also compares the aquaculture industry in Canada with those in the other major northern hemisphere aquaculture producers, Norway and Scotland.
In the US, researchers at Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences in Maine are planning to investigate pathogens that harm oyster aquaculture.
Making use of a $394,694 grant, the research will investigate oyster pathogens and determine their location, prevalence, and abundance in the oyster population throughout Maine - from the Webhannet River in Southern Maine to the Bagadeuce River in Downeast Maine - and the risk posed by waterborne human pathogens.
Pathogens currently represent a serious threat to oyster aquaculture and because oysters are filter feeders, they also have the potential to concentrate human pathogens, putting those who consume raw oysters at risk.