One local researcher is trying to change the way fish are farmed on our coast. Stephen Cross, industrial research chair for sustainable aquaculture and developer of the Aquaculture Technician program at the Campbell River campus of North Island College (NIC), is working with west coast salmon farmers to explore the feasibility of co-culturing kelp and other forms of seafood around established fish farms and diversifying the production at those facilities.
A Canadian college and the British Columbia Salmon Farmers Association (BCSFA) are installing kelp lines at more than 30 different farm sites off Vancouver Island, as part of the single largest study ever to explore BC’s kelp growing potential.
Stephen Cross has spent his career studying the sea. Sometimes he even sleeps on the water. At his facility off the west coast of Vancouver Island, the researcher regularly stays the night in what one student describes as a “floating house,” as it is too remote for practical commuting. Located in the quiet community of Kyuquot, it takes 3½ hours to reach from Courtenay, where Cross lives. The place has few inhabitants, with an official population of 150. But out in the water is a world in itself—and its creator is Cross.
The local aquaculture industry is hoping to turn waste nutrients from net-pen fish farms into a lucrative chunk of the $10-billion kelp industry. Researchers from North Island College are installing lines seeded with baby kelp at 30 B.C. fish farms as part of a five-year, $1-million pilot project to test the viability of seaweed aquaculture on our coast.
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The Centre’s mission is achieved through the strength and diversity of its relationships. It works with natural resource firms, First Nations, municipalities and regional districts, federal and provincial organizations and other educational institutions to address opportunities and challenges that arise.
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Scholarly Activity and Research Committee
NIC's Scholarly Activity and Research Committee explores research opportunities in the North Island region, and evaluates the possibilities for community-based applied research. By partnering with businesses, community groups, government, non-profit organizations, and educational institutions, the Scholarly Activity and Research Committee strives to develop the region's social, economic, and scholarly contributions. For more information visit Research Ethics Board.
NIC is proud to be part of several research alliances between our college and university partners on Vancouver Island and throughout BC. These alliances allows us to work with community partners to provide quality research on areas of interest to a larger region, or to utilize the expertise at other post-secondary institutions.