Salmon Aquaculture Innovation Fund

Advancing aquaculture solutions to protect wild salmon and the marine environment.

In 2010, Tides Canada established the Salmon Aquaculture Innovation Fund. The Fund has now completed its work to advance aquaculture solutions that protect wild salmon and the marine environment and building a viable and sustainable aquaculture industry in British Columbia, and is now closed.

To achieve its objective, the Innovation Fund supported research and demonstration projects of land-based, closed containment aquaculture systems and associated new technologies that offer alternative models to traditional open-net aquaculture. The research and projects supported the perspective that investing in research into land-based salmon aquaculture will help British Columbian communities benefit from the economic opportunities that come with providing environmentally sustainable seafood.

The $6 million Fund supported research in British Columbia in the following aspects of closed containment aquaculture:

  • Biological factors affecting fish growth and welfare;
  • Technological innovations to optimize growing conditions, minimize costs of production, and maximize value of the waste stream;
  • Economic feasibility;
  • Environmental performance; and
  • Social impacts.

Building on over $5-million in grants from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the Investment Agriculture Foundation of BC, and a group of committed individual Canadian donors, the Innovation Fund was designed to support research that harnesses the best people, ideas and strategies. This work involved close collaboration with governments, industry, environmental organizations, and First Nations to explore and advance the adoption of closed containment production systems as a means to foster protection of the environment and of wild salmon.

The Innovation Fund was led by a Donors Advisory Committee appointed by Tides Canada with input from major donors with direct project funding recommendations informed by project proposal evaluations made by a qualified Technical Advisory Committee.

Direct funding was available to projects located in British Columbia and required matching government or industry funding. Projects also needed to demonstrate a contribution to the research objectives of the Innovation Fund. For information about the Fund, contact Catherine Emrick, Senior Associate, Aquaculture Innovation, Tides Canada.

History of Activities

  • The Fund worked with several land-based, closed containment demonstration projects in development, including the ‘Namgis First Nation’s Kuterra Project. The Northern Vancouver Island-based project is producing Atlantic salmon to assess the technical, biological and economic feasibility of land-based closed containment aquaculture as an alternative production method, which better protects wild salmon and the marine environment. Regular reports on the status of this project were provided in through Aquaculture Innovation Workshops co-sponsored by Tides Canada and The Freshwater Institute and the publication of reports.
  • Though a series of Aquaculture Innovation Workshops, the Innovation Fund and its partners built a community of stakeholders interested in advancements of this technology and its environmental benefits. The most recent workshop Aquaculture Innovation Workshop (AIW) 2015 was held on October 14 and 15, 2015 at the National Conservation Training Center in West Virginia, USA. With the closing of the Fund, the Freshwater Institute has taken on hosting future Aquaculture Innovation Workshops.
  • The Innovation Fund provided technical, fish husbandry and project management support to projects under development in British Columbia. Tides Canada contracted the Freshwater Institute, the leading research institution for recirculating aquaculture systems, to extend design review and fish husbandry resources to stakeholders working to implement land-based closed-containment systems for salmon grow out in British Columbia.
  • Research funding was also provided to the University of British Columbia’s InSEAS facility.

Salmon Aquaculture Innovation Fund