AVC in P.E.I. part of $3.5M re­search project to pro­tect cul­tured At­lantic salmon

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - THE ISLAND -

UPEI’s At­lantic Vet­eri­nary Col­lege is par­tic­i­pat­ing in re­search to im­prove the health and wel­fare of cul­tured At­lantic salmon.

The pan-At­lantic project has the AVC join­ing forces with Memo­rial Univer­sity to use ge­nomics and other biotech­nolo­gies in or­der to help the salmon aqua­cul­ture in­dus­try de­velop more dis­ease-re­sis­tant brood stock and im­proved vac­cines.

ACOA is in­vest­ing $2.99 mil­lion in the project, while the New­found­land and Labrador gov­ern­ment is con­tribut­ing $500,000.

The in­vest­ments will en­able the re­search team to work with At­lantic Cana­dian in­dus­try and aca­demic part­ners to mit­i­gate the im­pact of cli­matere­lated chal­lenges on salmon aqua­cul­ture.

The project will fo­cus on the pre­dicted ef­fects of warm­ing coastal wa­ters and im­prove meth­ods for pro­tect­ing salmon from pathogens that can lead to dis­eases, which can have sig­nif­i­cant neg­a­tive eco­nomic im­pacts on the in­dus­try.

Mark Fast, an as­so­ciate pro­fes­sor at the AVC, said the project will de­ter­mine the un­der­pin­nings of At­lantic salmon’s abil­ity to grow and thrive at higher tem­per­a­tures, pro­vid­ing in­dus­try with ge­netic mark­ers and tests so it can se­lect and pro­duce salmon more suited to this chang­ing ocean en­vi­ron­ment.

“The global de­mand for healthy and sus­tain­able pro­tein sources con­tin­ues to grow. The At­lantic salmon farm­ing in­dus­try, in Canada and glob­ally, con­tin­ues to ex­pand and ad­just to fill this de­mand,” said Fast. “This re­search is im­por­tant also for iden­ti­fy­ing the ge­netic links be­tween tem­per­a­ture changes, im­mu­nity, and dis­ease in salmon. These links should pro­vide in­for­ma­tion on how to de­velop more ef­fec­tive vac­cines and re­duce an­tibi­otic use, again in the in­ter­est of en­hanc­ing the in­dus­try’s abil­ity to pro­duce a health­ier, cheaper and more en­vi­ron­men­tally sus­tain­able salmon.”


Mark Fast is an as­so­ciate pro­fes­sor at UPEI’s At­lantic Vet­eri­nary Col­lege.

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