Leading Sustainable Innovation: Re-cap from the Farmed Seafood Policy Conference

Guest post by: Jenny Weitzman, Dalhousie University


Another great Farmed Seafood Policy conference at the Westin in Ottawa (Nov 21 and 22).

The Canadian Aquaculture Industry Alliance (CAIA) hosted its annual conference, attracting a range of exciting and innovating partners from across Canada’s farmed seafood supply chain and policy actors. This year’s theme, ‘Oceans of Opportunity’ featured a diverse lineup of expert speakers presenting across a number of themes about the demand for seafood, the opportunities for Canada’s industry, and Canada’s role in global leadership, research and innovation, and sustainable development of aquaculture.

Among the range of topics presented, speakers sparked interest and excitement about the diversity of research and innovation within Canada and across the world.

Opening keynote speaker Amy Norogratz from Aqua-Spark highlighted some of the numerous research and innovations in technology and science. Aqua-Spark is the only aquaculture-dedicated investment funds committed to sustainable aquaculture innovation and research. Only 6 years since its inception Aqua-Spark has invested in 60-80 companies across the value chain, across species and geographies around the world. In the realm of aqua feeds, they have invested in companies researching alternative protein sources. For example, these include companies such as Calysta, who is using microbes that feed off methane, and Protix, who is using insects such as black solider flies. For disease, they have invested in companies such as Proteon Pharmaceuticals which are researching how to use new strains of phages to combat fish infection. They also are investing in a number of companies creating innovations in farm operations such as Sogn Aqua who are growing halibut on land in Norway using advanced patented water recirculation technologies.

Panelists discuss Canada’s role in seafood farming Innovation. From left: David McInnes, DMci Strategies (moderator),  Bjørn Apeland, Steinsvik Canada; Marvyn Budd, Planet Shrimp Inc.; and Ian Carr, Cargill Aqua Nutrition.

Panelists discuss Canada’s role in seafood farming Innovation. From left: David McInnes, DMci Strategies (moderator),  Bjørn Apeland, Steinsvik Canada; Marvyn Budd, Planet Shrimp Inc.; and Ian Carr, Cargill Aqua Nutrition.

Next, Bjorn Apeland, chief executive officer from the Steinsvik Group presented a first look into the potential vision and future for aquaculture innovation in equipment, machinery and facilities. For over 60 years, Steinsvik has been producing innovative products in remote sensing, cameras, feeding systems, and monitoring software, among others, to improve the efficiency, health, and sustainability of fish farming systems. At the conference, we were fortunate to become immersed in a video presenting a potential future of aquaculture through automation, surveillance, data monitoring, etc… This video highlights their vision of how innovation can lead the industry, and highlights many of the current technologies that are even today being researched and undertaken today.

Continuing with the theme of advanced technologies, Marvyn Budd of Planet Shrimp introduced us to his innovative company using the state-of-the-art technologies to culture fresh Ontario-grown indoor shrimp. This closed containment system controls almost every aspect of the species’ health, bringing the production of a local, antibiotic-free, environmentally-friendly shrimp product to Canadians.

Finally, we heard from Cargill’s Ian Carr, who spoke to us about the advances in aquafeeds. Cargill is a major aqua feed company using new and different raw materials. They have major investments in state-of-the art research facilities to create innovations in health, including recovery and immunity features of feeds. Their goals are to reduce the footprint of aqua feeds and better recycle wastes during the process.

These new and exciting technologies, research, and innovations continued to spark intrigue and excitement the rest of the day. These speakers, among the many presenters that followed throughout the day highlight the current opportunities already ongoing within Canada and throughout the world for the future of sustainable aquaculture.

Behind the Scenes at CAIA: Seafood Expo North America 2017

What a busy and exciting weekend at Seafood Expo North America 2017 hosted in Boston, MA (March 19-21)!

The Canadian Aquaculture Industry Alliance (CAIA) exhibited at the show where we set up a live cooking station to promote Canadian farmed seafood – as well as distributed information about our producer members and their products.

This show is the largest and most anticipated seafood event in North America attracting seafood buyers from retail and foodservice industries including wholesalers, distributors and importers, and exporter - and it didn’t disappoint.

CAIA and its members spoke with a steady stream of visitors to the booth who expressed interest in sourcing Canadian farmed seafood. We handed out hundreds of copies of our supplier listing, member brochures - and more than 1,000 seafood samples!

Boston-based chefs Scott Patnode and Mike Graffeo prepared the samples, carefully selecting seasonings and herbs to allow the delicate flavours of the seafood to really shine through. Throughout the three-day event we served Arctic Char, Mussels (Blue and Gallo), Oysters (Atlantic and Pacific), Sablefish, and Salmon (Atlantic, Chinook and Steelhead) for visitors to taste.

CAIA’s Sheri Beaulieu and Ruth Salmon were on hand working alongside the chefs to distribute samples, answer questions, talk with buyers and refer member suppliers.

Here Chefs Mike Graffeo (left) and Scott Patnode (right) prepare samples of Yukon-grown Arctic Char from Icy Waters Arctic Charr. The two brought great energy to the booth and were a joy to work with.

Our booth featured a display case where we showcased the diversity of seafood cultivated across Canada. It really attracted the attention of show participants – many stopping to take photos of it.

Maurice Daigle of Maison BeauSoleil and Brian Yip of Fanny Bay Oysters helped shuck some of their scrumptious Atlantic and Pacific Oysters for visitors to try.

On the final day of the show, Chef Mike Graffeo served up a ‘Taste of Canada’ farmed seafood chowder brimming with fish and shellfish.

Ongoing member support for this show is key to our success. Producers from across Canada shipped over 350 lbs of seafood for display and service. Take a moment to get to know more about them!

See you all next year at the 2018 show!

Seafood Expo North America 2017

Calling all Boston-bound and Boston-based seafood lovers: on March 19-21, visit Canadian Aquaculture Industry Alliance at Seafood Expo North America 2017.

Chef Scott Patnode will be on hand preparing delectable samples of Canadian farmed Arctic char, mussels, oysters, sablefish, salmon, and more.

Our seafood tastings schedule features more than a dozen types of seafood, raw oyster bars and ‘Taste of Canada’ farmed seafood chowder.

We’re excited to talk to you about the diversity seafood farmed across Canada. Check out the schedule below and plan to stop by our booth (1242) – and experience the freshness and quality for yourself.

Here’s the daily line-up of seafood tastings planned:

Sunday, March 19, 2017

11:00 am   Blue Mussels: Atlantic Aqua Farms / Gallo Mussels: Fanny Bay Oysters

12:30 pm   Atlantic Salmon: True North Salmon / Chinook Salmon: Creative Salmon

2:00 pm    Steelhead Salmon: Sea Agra Seafood

3:30 pm    Raw Oyster Bar - Atlantic: Maison BeauSoleil / Oysters: Fanny Bay Oysters

Monday, March 20, 2017

11:00 am   Blue Mussels: Badger Bay Mussel Farms

12:30 pm   Sablefish: Sea Agra Seafood

2:00 pmArctic Char: Icy Waters Arctic Charr

3:30 pm    Raw Oyster Bar - Atlantic: Maison BeauSoleil /  Pacific: Mac’s Oysters

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

11:00 am   ‘Taste of Canada’ Farmed Seafood Chowder