Aquaculture Canada &Sea Farmers 2017 Program

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Aquaculture Canada & Sea Farmers 2017: Cultivating Our Future

Sessions being planned (subject to change):


The goal of this session is to provide a forum both for the presentation of the latest results in developing and applying genomic tools for enhancing aquaculture production, and for discussing and implementing future small- and large-scale genomic studies. The session will include both traditional conference presentations and a less formal panel discussion/forum. Although a number of presentations will be by invitation, space will also be reserved in the program for unsolicited presentations, and to this end requests to include presentations related to any aspects of genomics in aquaculture are welcome.


Sustainable and profitable aquaculture relies on the health of cultured stocks. Private and public Canadian institutions have made large investments in aquatic animal health to research the challenges facing national and international farming communities. This session is designed to communicate the most recent science in aquatic animal health including advancements in epidemiology, vaccines and immunology, parasitology, virology, bacteriology, pathology, biosecurity and pharmacology. As well, speakers and specialists in the areas of Infectious Salmon Anemia, antimicrobial resistance and sea lice control are encouraged to contribute to this session.


Third party certification standards are an integral part of food production systems and have become an important part of the aquaculture landscape. Once undertaken by producers to distinguish themselves in the marketplace, third-party certification has evolved into a requirement or rather the “cost of doing business”. Embraced by retailers and consumers, so called eco-certification has arisen through NGO's, private companies, and even the retailers themselves. Although there was proliferation in earlier stages of development, several prominent third-party bodies have emerged to provide recognized standards. These standards emphasize a wide variety of compliance issues, but many deal with legality, social licensing including worker safety, antibiotic/chemical use and environmental compliance among other topics. In this session we focus on two aspects of the certification criteria: environmental impact and health management. Although both of these components are part of government regulatory processes, the standards bodies have their own take on acceptable measures for both criteria. In this session, we seek papers that deal with (a) how these criteria have been developed, (b), how they been applied in practice and/or evolved, and (c) new approaches to standards including zonal management. We welcome contributions from standards organizations, NGO's, regulators, and researchers on any type of cultured species, as well as from producers who have been through the certification process.


Interest in the interactions of aquaculture on coastal communities and ecological health continues to drive regulation, affecting both the growth of the industry and management of existing sites.  In Canada, provincial and federal regulators prescribe the methods used to measure these interactions.  Many techniques are available to evaluate the benthic health near an aquaculture site which include direct sediment monitoring (sediment chemistry, benthic/faunal indices and DNA barcoding), video surveillance, remote sensing, and data assimilated modeling; each subject to challenges and limitations.   Regardless of the method(s) employed to evaluate environmental effects from aquaculture practices, the results must be scientifically defensible and applicable to determine optimal mitigation.  This session will examine environmental management policies, environmental monitoring tools / techniques and current research in the management of environmentally sustainable aquaculture.


Seaweeds have been cultivated for millennia as part of the foodscape of farming coastal communities.  Today, farmed seaweeds account for nearly 30 million metric tonnes (wet weight) globally and are the second largest group of cultured aquatic organisms on the planet.  Seaweeds are used in a variety of applications including, but not limited to: food additives, ecosystem services (IMTA), nutraceuticals, phytomedicine, animal nutrition, pharmaceuticals, jewelry and cosmetics, and waste management.  They are increasingly being recognized as a food source containing essential nutrients with important health benefits.  This half day symposium will discuss global seaweed production from tropical to temperate regions, its uses in non-food applications and as food, and the prospects for future growth of the industry. A panel of experts will be assembled to present their findings, and to discuss the future of the sector, focusing on the Canadian scene.


This session will provide a forum for presenting the latest research in fish nutrition and feed management practices to improve and further develop the aquaculture industry in Canada. The development of novel ingredients and nutrient supply in formulation design and implementation of innovative feed management practices will be the Session focus.

Topics in this session may include:
•    Specialty feed ingredients (e.g. AA, immunostimulants, probiotics, pigments)
•    Alternative sources of omega-3
•    Novel protein sources (e.g. marine co-products including algae)
•    Improving Feed Conversion Ratio, texture and flesh quality of Atlantic Salmon through dietary optimization
•    Feed management and feeding innovations implemented in industry application.


Appropriate control of aquatic animal disease, including parasitic pathogens, is a key component in the sustainable management of aquaculture. In a number of contexts, such as sea lice on salmon farms, the reliance on a limited set of chemical control options has led to the development of resistance to such control measures. This is not a problem that is unique to aquaculture, as the increased awareness of anti-microbial resistance issues worldwide in both production animals and human populations makes only too clear.

In this context there has been an increasing interest in, and practice of, Integrated Pest/pathogen Management (IPM) approaches within aquaculture. The notion of IPM encompasses a range of complementary approaches but has at its centre the integration of chemical, biological and management control strategies to provide more effective and sustainable control than would typically be achieved through the use of a single method. The most notable area of aquaculture to which this has been applied, perhaps due to the severity of the challenge, is almost certainly that of sea lice control on salmon farms. There is now substantial research in all major salmon producing regions to explore the integration of non-chemical approaches within a broad IPM strategy for sea lice control. Perhaps the most obvious manifestation of this has been the investment in research and production scale-up around so-called “cleaner fish”; species such as wrasse, lumpfish and, in Canada, cunners, which have the potential to act as biological controls on Atlantic salmon farms. However, other approaches including mechanical barriers, fresh or warm water baths, and increased periods of fallowing, as well as the most effective use of available chemotherapeutants through product rotation, synchronized treatment, etc., all form part of the modern IPM strategies being adopted.  IPM also relates to control of other pathogens such as ISAv in Eastern Canada, and IHNv, Kudoa thyrsites and possibly SRS in the Pacific.  Integrated management of these individual and in some cases co-infections are vital to healthy and sustainable aquaculture across Canada.

This session is intended to provide an opportunity to report on research and/or field experience in the use of a variety of IPM approaches. While sea lice on salmon farms will form a major focus, presentations on the application of integrated strategies for other aquatic species and pathogens are welcome as are contributions that provide an international perspective on these important health management issues.


This session will feature the latest research, development and commercialization in Marine Integrated Multi-Trophic Aquaculture (MIMTA) and Freshwater Integrated Multi-Trophic Aquaculture (FIMTA or aquaponics). Progress in the different extractive components of IMTA systems (dissolved inorganic nutrient absorbers, small particulate organic suspension feeders, large particulate organic deposit feeders, and mineralizing microbial components) will be presented. The IMTA concept, its many variations (including on land and in freshwater), who it is for, and what will be needed to see the emergence of this innovative practice in the western world will be debated. IMTA will also be discussed in the context of the need for enabling and flexible regulations instead of regulatory hurdles, inter-provincial harmonization, an integrated coastal area management (ICAM) strategy approach, the recognition and proper valuation of the ecosystem services provided by extractive species, and the development of nutrient trading credits used as financial and regulatory incentive tools. As aquaculture development in Canada will most certainly come from other species than salmon, diversification will not only be key to maintain its competitiveness, but the IMTA multi-crop diversification approach (fish, seaweeds and invertebrates) will also be examined as an economic risk mitigation and management option to address pending climate change and ocean acidification impacts.


Aquaculture is often a hot topic industry in the media, with polarized viewpoints. This session will explore means of coping with negative press, being proactive and engaging audiences with good news stories and sharing communications strategies. We welcome contributions from those working in communications from academia, industry, government and other related organizations. A panel discussion will follow.


Growth of the aquaculture sector in Canada has experienced a deceleration in the last 10 years or more. However, in Canada’s Indigenous communities the interest for aquaculture is gradually gaining momentum. In the last 6 years several aquaculture related projects in First Nations have taken place thanks to the creation and implementation of dedicated funding programs that help leverage the start-up and operational costs. Most Indigenous communities interested in aquaculture are perfectly located and have the natural resources needed to develop successful projects but challenges still exist, particularly on matters related to access to sites and leases, capital, and experienced workforce. This session will present updates on existing projects that will be used as case studies for future development and it will also present the tremendous opportunities that currently exist for these communities.


Expansion of the global aquaculture industry is dependent on understanding and controlling a complex array of physiological processes that limit production of aquatic organisms. From gene expression to the whole organism level, we need to know more about how IT works! This session welcomes presentations from any and all facets of physiology that are relevant to improving the commercial viability of a species: respiration, osmoregulation, feeding and digestion, protein turnover, gonadal maturation, gamete quality, ontogenetic changes in form and function…and on! For this multi-disciplinary audience, context and application are more important than the fascinating detail.


Ecosystem and carrying capacity models are used extensively as support tools for decision making by both regulators and industry. These tools play a key role in the sustainable development of the aquaculture sector, both in enhancing decision making for business improvement, and in decision making for the sustainable development of shared aquatic resources. Ongoing work is focused on developing and/or refining relevant models at appropriate geospatial scales to improve their effectiveness as support tools. This work is identified as an area for international cooperation in the work plan to support the implementation of the Galway Statement on Atlantic Ocean Cooperation.

This session will examine the latest research/work that is ongoing in the areas of both ecosystem and carrying capacity modelling including topics such as:
•    Updates to the predictive depositional model DEPOMOD
•    Assimilative capacity modeling
•    Carrying capacity in oligotrophic areas
•    Multi-species carrying capacity models
•    Evaluating eutrophication mitigation
•    Phytoplankton depletion models – moving from farm to ecosystem level
•    Production carrying capacity modelling