Land-based aquaculture in second decade
Marine Harvest Canada’s experience raising Atlantic salmon to market size in tanks on land is now in its second decade.
This investment in land-based aquaculture systems by British Columbia’s leading salmon aquaculture firm is now helping niche companies test the viability of commercial sized projects.
Growing salmon on land has always been a major part of the production cycle for salmon farmers. Since 1988, Marine Harvest Canada has been growing smolts (prior to seawater entry) in recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS) and today the technology is responsible for growing 800 tonnes of smolts each year.
“Our experience with smolt RAS afforded us a great learning opportunity which made it easy to transition to raising our parent (broodstock) groups ten years ago,” said Jamie Gaskill, Marine Harvest Canada’s Production Director. “Our research has helped perfect the correct use of current velocity, lighting, water chemistry, and stocking densities.”
While Marine Harvest has proven that Atlantic salmon can be grown to market size in RAS, it adds that there are still concerns about the larger use of resources that comes with more production.
The company has analyzed the concept of growing more fish on land for human consumption, but has decided against it due to concerns of cost (capital investment and power), environmental footprint (groundwater use), and animal welfare (higher stocking densities).
Marine Harvest Canada is British Columbia’s largest aquaculture company and supplier of Sterling brand salmon.