salmon health

Wet Lab facility aims to study pathogen transfer

City of Campbell River has big plans for developing a Salmon Centre of Excellence

By SeaWestNews

The BC Centre for Aquatic Health Sciences  (BC CAHS)  supports recommendations of the Ministry of Agriculture Advisory Council on Finfish Aquaculture (MAACFA)  report to investigate the risk of pathogen transfer between wild and farmed salmon.

“The council recognizes that Level 2 Wet Lab Facilities – those where salmon are kept in land-based tanks for experiments – is well below what is required” noted BC CAHS CEO Dr. Jim Powell.

“We have been working with the Ministry of Agriculture to establish a world-class facility here in Campbell River to address the needs identified in the MAACFA Report.”

“A Level 2 Wet Lab will help us conduct the much needed additional scientific research aimed at a better understanding of potential effects of pathogen transfer between wild and farmed salmon” said Powell.

“It is necessary to have the facility in Campbell River because this is where migratory salmon pass through to get to the open ocean and then back to the spawning grounds. It is also the meeting place of wild and farmed fish, so it’s perfect to conduct research using the local waters”.

BC CAHS and the City of Campbell River have big plans for developing a Salmon Centre of Excellence on waterfront City-owned land as part of a larger community development.

Mayor Andy Adams (pictured) stated “Campbell River is the ‘Salmon Capital of the World’ and is very supportive of work that the BC Centre for Aquatic Health Sciences does in providing our region with science-based evidence for the sustainability of all fisheries whether it be wild, commercial, recreational, farmed or indigenous.

“Having an operational wet lab here in Campbell River would be a tremendous asset to continue this critically important research and work very well with the City’s potential plans for a Salmon Centre of Excellence facility.”

Randal Heidt, Vice President, Strategic Initiates, North Island College said: “As North Island College grows its capacity to conduct applied research with local industry partners, such as BC CAHS, we see tremendous value in collaborating on the establishment of facilities capable of hosting world-class research and expertise in support of the fisheries and aquaculture sectors and particularly for salmon.”

“We are looking forward to working with the Province on developing the Wet Lab here in Campbell River” said Powell.

“We have the people, we have the space and we have the water. We will continue our efforts in the development of the facility in partnership with a broad array of stakeholders and beneficiaries of the resource.”

The BC CAHS is a non-profit organization in Campbell River BC with a state-of-the-art laboratory serving all stakeholders in fisheries and aquaculture, First Nations and the enhancement communities. It operates on a science-based model and adheres to a rigorous academic ethic.

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