Sunshine Coast trial launches new semi-closed fish farm technology

The new technology, tested in Sunshine Costa waters, will soon be installed on three fish farms on Vancouver Island to help reduce the spread of sea lice.

February 8 Grieg Seafood BC Ltd. announced the launch of a new system on three fish farms in Esperance Bay, off the west coast of Vancouver Island.

The first tests of the Made in BC system began in 2019 on the farm of Grieg Calloden, located in the Gulf of Sechelt, and looked for ways to mitigate the effects of harmful algae. The CO2L Flow system (pronounced “cool stream”) allows farmers to raise or lower barriers around a fish farm aviary to a depth of 15 meters to respond to natural ocean conditions. Barriers are combined with nanobubble technology that maintains oxygen levels and water quality and ensures that water continues to circulate. It was developed in collaboration with CPI Equipment Ltd. with Nanaimo, Poseidon Ocean Systems of the Campbell River and the international company Oxzo Technologies.

Over the course of a year and a half, the study recorded an average 13 percent improvement in feed conversion rates, reflecting the ability of fish to convert food into body weight. According to a press release, during the trial, survival increased by 19 percent. Compared to fish in the neighboring traditional system, the flow of CO2L has reported improved growth, sometimes up to a pound, Grieg’s communications director Amy Johnson said in an e-mail to the Coast Reporter.

A company press release said three generations of fish on the Sunshine Coast farm had been successfully bred using the system.

Johnson said one of the biggest successes in the test was preventing side interactions between wild and farmed fish by lowering the barriers of the new system.

“It benefits both populations in that it stops the ability of lice to switch between wild and farmed, and also greatly reduces the need to treat sea lice for farmed salmon. Barriers also limit the ability of harmful or toxic algae to enter the farm and affect our fish, ”she said.

Because water can still enter and leave the system, it does not stop the movement of pathogens. At this time, the system also does not collect solid waste, Grieg’s press release said the company continues to look for a solution.

Each system costs about $ 2 million, and the cost may vary depending on the specific natural conditions of each farm. It can be adapted to existing farm areas. The new technology will operate during the upcoming agricultural cycle on Steamer Point, Lutes Creek and Esperanza farms.

“At the moment, we only have one system on our site in Caladen, and we look forward to completing these new systems and launching them in 2023,” Johnson said.

“As a company, Grieg is really proud of the system and the strong support we have received. We look forward to the next phase and the introduction of the Poseidon Ocean System and Oxzo [Technologies] to the team to help us continue to improve the system. ”

Grieg has nine licenses to farm in the Sunny Coast. Five of the nine farm licenses are valid and certified in Salten, Vantage, Site 13, Ahlstrom and Culloden, and the other four – Newcomb, Site 9, Kunechin and Paradise Bay – are certified. inactive.

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