On February 1, 2019, the Ontario Aquaculture Association and the Livestock Research Innovation Corporation (LRIC) brought together more than 40 people from across Ontario to define research priorities for the province’s farmed fish and shrimp sector.
Participants included farmers, suppliers, researchers, non-profit representatives, and government champions from across Ontario and beyond.
Throughout the day, they discussed specific needs and trends, barriers, and opportunities for aquaculture research in Ontario, with a focus on open-water net pens, land-based farming, alternative technologies and alternative species. Further discussions oriented around genetics, nutrition, health and welfare, environmental impacts, economics and market development and social licence.
Overall, the following outcomes were gleaned from the many group and break-out discussions:
1. To grow the net pen industry in Lake Huron and Lake Superior to between 30,000 and 50,000 MT in the next ten years.
2. Develop a formal breeding program for Ontario rainbow trout through a partnership between industry and government. A first step would be assessing the amount of genetic diversity in existing lines of rainbow trout and then initiating a family-based breeding program. This approach would combine new and existing tools and techniques.
3. Development of engineering and multidisciplinary technology for:
- Recirculating aquaculture systems, multi-trophic aqua and aquaponics that can be developed into commercially scalable and economical systems, creating opportunities for expansion in Ontario.
- Phosphorus binding and effluent control and/or divergence of waste products to usable resources for any/all types of aquaculture systems
- Alternative usages for systems waste components Page 6 of 12
- Systems for offshore operations to handle severe weather and mitigate climate change impacts by moving to cooler water environments.
4. Development and implementation of a science-based benthos and sediment monitoring protocol for freshwater net pen systems.
5. Development of best practices and protocols for the humane culture, euthanasia, slaughter and shipping of fish livestock
6. Development of nutritional diets across any of the technology systems employed in aquaculture that are cost effective, sustainable, and could use local (Ontario or Canadian sourced) and/or novel (not displacing anything used in/for human diets ie. insect larve, black soldier flies etc.) components, that have nutraceutical properties, and improve immunity.
7. Development of a model for assimilative capacity and mass balance for off-property (stream) discharge of land-based farms that regulators will recognize for licensing and monitoring.
8. Updated discharge standards for RAS that distinguish between mass loading and concentration with the ability to incorporate alternative waste usages.
9. Area of social license and education for OAA to facilitate included enhanced communication and education-specific programming that focuses on transparency, environmental impact, and aquaculture benefits.
About the Livestock Research Innovation Corporation
LRIC is a producer driven organization made up of Ontario Livestock and Poultry Organizations that strongly believe the animal protein sectors will continue to underpin the prosperity of Ontario for many years to come and that well designed and directed research will drive and enable that prosperity. LRIC’s vision is: Innovation driving livestock sector success and our mission is that the Livestock Research Innovation Corporation works collaboratively on behalf of our members to drive innovation through the value chain. LRIC provides a single portal through which collective investment in livestock and poultry research conducted in Ontario, is able to generate the best possible outcomes and return on investment for our sector and the Province.
Thanks to LRIC for partnering with the OAA and our members to facilitate such valuable discussion for moving the industry forward!