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Canadian Aquaculture and Global Health

Shannon Regan   |   May 31, 2018

Deep Trekker attended Aquaculture Canada May 27-30 in Quebec City, providing technology for sustainable growth and global health. Aquaculture Canada is the premiere event for leaders in Canadian aquaculture.

Aquaculture in Canada

pei mussel farm aquaculture

Fishing and seafood has been a vital part of the Canadian economy since Canada’s beginnings. Today, the industry remains one the most important to the country, employing over 35,000 people and generating over $2.5 billion in annual exports. From May 27th to 30th, Deep Trekker attended Aquaculture Canada in Quebec City, providing fish farms with robotic systems designed to inspect and monitor fish stocks, contribute to global health and support the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Industry Specialist, Rachel Major took the stage to present the topic of "Aquaculture for Global Health: Supporting the UN Sustainable Development Goals." Below is a recap of the presentation and a review on Canadian aquaculture.

Did You Know?

With our growing population - 8.3 billion expected by 2030 - we need 50% more energy, 40% more water and 35% more food than we currently produce today. The global demand for seafood continues to rise and is expected to double by 2050 as a source of high quality protein. Farmed seafood has already surpassed 50% of global supply of consumed seafood. As such, sustainable farmed seafood is becoming the solution to the world's food problem.

UN Sustainable Development Goals

The United Nations 2030 Agenda offers a vision of a fair, prosperous, peaceful and sustainable world with no one left behind. The two goals, although not directly connected to aquaculture, that will be discussed in further detail are SDG2: Zero Hunger and SDG14: Life Below Water.

SDG2: Zero Hunger

As a goal to end all forms of hunger and malnutrition by 2030, SDG2 aims to make sure all people - especially children and the more vulnerable - have access to sufficient and nutritious food all year around. After reviewing the below graphs, outlining feed conversion, carbon footprint and edible yield, it is clear that farmed salmon is the most efficient source of protein.

UN Sustainable Development Goals

UN Sustainable Development Goals

UN Sustainable Development Goals

SDG14: Life Under Water

The world's oceans – their temperature, chemistry, currents and life – drive global systems that make the Earth habitable for humankind. SDG14 aims to sustainably manage and protect marine and coastal ecosystems from pollution, and other harmful impacts. Deep Trekker inspections help address concerns with environmental impact of fish farming; water quality, benthic floor and fish escapes.

Impacts to water quality at fish farm sites include, increased nitrogen, phosphorus, lipids, turbidity and oxygen depletion. Mediated through proper farm management, siting requirements and improved feeding, Deep Trekker remotely operated vehicles can be used to efficiently monitor the health and well being of fish stock and water quality.

Additionally, we must address the concern of benthic floor which results when organic material from uneaten fish food and fish waste accumulate on the seafloor, below the pen. Visual monitoring of fish feeding behaviour allows the farmer to reduce over feeding and waste. It also allows the farmer to make informed decisions regarding fallowing or resitting a pen to protect the ocean environment.

Finally, a major concern is fish escapes. Breeding fish that are not bred to survive with wild fish hurt the overall species quality. It also increases the spread of disease through sick fish escaping. Although we have seen a drastic reduction in escapes over the last 20 years - from 3.7% to 0.3% - it is important that we prevent this from happening altogether. Through proper farm management practices, such as regular inspections, we can decrease fish escapes to 0%.

Talk to us about using ROVs to inspect the condition and health of your fish farm

Contact Industry Specialist

Case Study: Aqua-cage Fisheries

Aqua-cage fisheries is an aquaculture farm in Parry Sound, Ontario that produces rainbow trout for the food market. It receives fingerlings from a hatchery in southern Ontario, grows the fish in the open waters of Georgian Bay and harvests them for a processor that ships to major grocery stores. In 2015, Aqua-Cage Fisheries acquired a Deep Trekker ROV to perform various jobs around the farm.

"I can’t say enough about the customer service we have received. Having the owner of the company make visits to demo, and again to try out new features has been invaluable. [DT] works diligently to solve industry problems and come up with effective solutions. Deep Trekker is an obvious addition to any underwater work. It’s cheaper, safer and often more functional than divers," said Kana and Gord Cole, Co-owners of Aqua-Cage Fisheries.

Aqua-Cage Fisheries has been using the DTG2 to accomplish subsurface inspection from a safe top-side environment, to ensure nets are clear of any destruction. Additionally, they are able to monitor fish behaviour and health, inspect mooring lines and anchors and monitor cage depths to ensure they are not in contact with the lake bed.

Read more: What are ROVs and what are they used for?

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