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Ongoing Research and Development (R&D) is a vital component of the salmon farming industry. Much of the R&D is organized through our sister company EWOS Innovation, one of the sector's leading private R&D companies. Key focus areas of Research and Development include:
Mainstream Canada also invests in Research and Development projects in B.C. including:
|photo of phytoplankton
compliments of www.hib.no
The Harmful Algae Monitoring Program (HAMP) began in 1999 to monitor harmful algae in the areas surrounding finfish aquaculture operations in BC, as mortalities from plankton blooms were an ongoing problem. HAMP was established with funding from the finfish aquaculture companies, with in-kind contributions from DFO, and has continued with funding primarily by the salmon farmers.
Nicky Haigh at the Pacific Biological Station in Nanaimo, BC manages the program. The mandate of HAMP is threefold: analyzing weekly samples to back up farm sampling reports; establishing sampling protocols to create an industry-wide standard; and educating farm staff in phytoplankton identification and sampling. Data collected in this program has been used to develop a phytoplankton database, with special concentration on species that are harmful to fish in BC waters and provides a knowledge resource not only for the salmon industry, but also for marine phytoplankton studies.
Since 2004, the Clayoquot Sound Sea Lice Working Group has monitored the prevalence and density of sea lice (Lepeophtheirus salmonis and Caligus clemensi) on wild salmonid smolts, at over 30 locations throughout Clayoquot Sound. The Clayoquot Sound Sea Lice Working Group is an innovative working relationship between First Nations (Ahousaht and Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations) and salmon farm companies operating within their traditional territories (Creative Salmon Inc. and Mainstream Canada). The group is co-coordinated by Uu-a-thluk, the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council Fisheries Department.
Results of the 2004-2007 monitoring program were published in 2009 and revealed the prevalence of sea lice on chum salmon fluctuated between 7 % and 20% over that period. Overall, the prevalence of sea lice in the Clayoquot Sound did not vary significantly from year to year. Both prevalence and abundance of sea lice on chum salmon showed a stepwise increase with increasing salinity, suggesting that salinity was a greater factor in determining the distribution of sea lice than the geographic location of the sample sites or proximity to salmon farms.
Although there is no evidence at this time that the sea lice levels are affecting the survival of wild salmon populations in Clayoquot Sound, the Clayoquot Sound Sea Lice Working Group has continued to proactively monitor sea lice levels on the wild migrating salmon smolts every year, continuing the program every year after 2007 to the present. For more information on the monitoring project results, please go to Clayoquot Sound Sea Lice Monitoring Report.
The Genomics in Lice and Salmon (GILS) project is a collaborative research project conducted through the Centre for Biomedical Research at the University of Victoria. GILS was initiated in October 2008 and seeks to capitalize on a wide range of partnerships, as well as outreach initiatives, to address the sea louse issue in British Columbia. GILS will examine louse populations and characterize various host and louse responses to species (host and parasite), environmental parameters, biological and chemical therapeutic strategies, and communication and education strategies. The project has four primary objectives:
Primary co-funding partners in the Genomics in Lice and Salmon project include BC MAL, DFO, Microtek Research and Mainstream Canada, along with two other salmon farming companies. The project proposal states that the primary principle in securing co-funding for this project was to be inclusive without becoming committed to any single perspective or company. As such, the project seeks to contribute a clear and factual perspective without the appearance of bias.