Sustainable Aquaculture

This project focused on the commercialization of kelp and other new aquaculture species. This project worked with a variety of aquaculture companies and coastal First Nations.

Project Dates: March 2013 – November 2018
Funding Amount: $1.2 million
Students Hired: 6

NIC student Deniz Konakli holds up sugar kelp at a North Island aquaculture site.

Project Summary

Our applied research program in Sustainable Aquaculture was initiated in 2013 and comprised of two phases. The first (2013-2018) included partners from the BC Salmon Farmers Association, focussed on the development of automated water quality instrumentation for climate/ocean change monitoring and explored the potential of co-culturing kelp (as nutrient extraction species) adjacent to salmon farm operations.

The later phase furthers our research with seaweed aquaculture, assessing the technical and socio-economic aspects of co-culture with a variety of shellfish species (cockle, geoduck, scallops, sea cucumbers) and the inherent ecosystem services marine plants provide – ocean acidification, carbon and nutrient sequestration. Research includes First Nation partners from the BC Central Coast to south, west, and North Vancouver Island. We have also engaged BC Timber Sales in this initiative.

Research Team

Dr. Stephen Cross
Dr. Stephen Cross, Lead Researcher
As our NSERC Industrial Research Chair in Sustainable Aquaculture, Dr. Cross led our applied research program in this sector. With over 30 years of regional, national and international consulting and research experience in aquaculture, Dr. Cross contributed an extensive knowledge base to NIC.
Allison Byrne
Allison Byrne, Researcher
As a Research Associate to NIC’s Sustainable Aquaculture program, Allison joined the team in 2016 and is working with Dr. Cross on several aspects of the research. She learned the value of collaborative aquaculture research through her Master’s degree from the University of Victoria, part of a Canada-wide research network made possible through partnerships with industry, government, and academia.


Project Outcomes

NSERC Project Summary

Project Abstract

News stories and coverage

Interest growing in Canada’s ‘other weed’
Aquaculture North America
June 12, 2018

Why aren’t we farming seaweed?
Campbell River Mirror
March 8, 2018

BC kelp farming is untapped resource
BC Business
July 20, 2017

Farming Kelp to Meet Industry Demand
Skin Inc.
February 29, 2016

Researchers at work on new kelp source for natural cosmetics
Cosmetics Design
February 10, 2016

Learning from and by the sea
February 1, 2016


Naomi Tabata
Naomi Tabata, CARTI manager

News Stories and Coverage

National Observer: Could seaweed be a salve to debate over salmon farming