Farmed Atlantic Salmon (Salmo salar) represent 85% of the production value of aquaculture in Atlantic Canada. Salmon is loaded with protein, omega-3 fatty acids (DHA and EPA), and a number of important vitamins and nutrients. Wild salmon stocks have faced steady declines, and farmed salmon provides a sustainable, year-round supply of delicious, healthy seafood.
Arctic Char (Salvelinus alpinus) is a cold-water fish whose range stretches to some of the most remote areas of Northern Canada. Arctic Char resemble salmon quite closely in appearance, but have a milder taste and distinctive bright coral flesh. Arctic Char fisheries are of particular importance to Inuit groups.
Rainbow Trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) is a versatile species that thrives under a wide range of water temperatures. While there are a number of freshwater species, some varieties (“steelheads”) complete their life cycle at sea. Rainbow trout are an excellent source of health-boosting omega-3 fatty acids.
Brook Trout (Salvelinus fontinalis), which belong to the Char genus, are native to Eastern North America. Brook Trout are sensitive to environmental changes, and are frequently used to study the impacts of pollution and water contaminants.
Striped Bass (Morone saxatilis) is a coastal species that inhabits rivers, estuaries, and inshore coastal areas. Locally, there are well established populations of Striped Bass in the Minas Basin, Gaspereau River (NS) and Miramichi River and Saint John River (NB).
Our fish have been certified disease-free for nearly 20 years by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. The ideal growing conditions of Black River Lake allow us to produce thriving fish with excellent fin condition, large body size, and outstanding transition success.
Our eggs (hatched in January) can be sea-ready smolt by November of the same year. This provides our partners with the unique advantage of being able to capitalize on the spring growing season. Smolt from our facility are recognized for their superior growth rates.
We were the first NS facility to develop and produce an effluent monitoring program for review, and have designed and implemented an innovative fish containment system to prevent smolt escapement. We apply continuous improvement initiatives to help us remain leaders in the industry.
From sourcing regional feed and equipment, to hiring local employees, to ongoing community engagement, research partnerships and promoting education programs – we're committed to supporting the great community, province, and country in which we work.
The salmon farming cycle begins with the broodstock. Eggs are collected from adult female salmon which are mixed with the milt of a male. After the eggs have been fertilized, they are incubated until they reach the “eyed” stage.
After the eggs hatch, the “alevins” continue to develop using only the nutrients derived from their yolk sacs. We monitor their development over the period of several months; once their built-in food supply has been consumed, we begin to feed the “fry.”
These “fry” will be fed for 6-12 months within our land-based freshwater habitat. We provide them with a highly nutritious diet which mimics the food wild salmon would encounter during this stage of development.
Once they have undergone the physiological changes required to survive and mature in salt water, they are considered “smolts” and are ready for their final growth stage.
Throughout development, the fry, and then larger smolt, are graded to group like-sized individuals together. Before transport, we again grade the smolt to ensure that each fish is of an optimal size and weight to thrive in this final phase.
When smolt have reached an adequate size to move to a marine environment, we vaccinate them, ensuring they can ward off any pathogens they might encounter.
Specially designed transport containers reduce stresses and are used to move the smolt to marine farms, which can be land- or ocean-based.
Smolt develop into adult salmon in a salt-water environment over a period of 1.5-2 years. Once they reach an optimal size (about 5 kg), they will be harvested, processed, and ready for consumption.
We collaborate with a number of a world-class researchers, government institutions, and other parties invested in the burgeoning aquaculture sector – working together to promote sustainable growth.
Research foci include: salmon nutrition, stress responses, vaccination efficacy, growth rates, genomics, and salmon physiology and ecology.
As a member of the Aquaculture Association of Nova Scotia (AANS), we work closely with the association to develop and follow industry “Codes of Practice.”
We are also a member of the Black River Lake Association and we maintain an excellent working record with this group who focus on issues that affect the lake – our water source!
Our commitment to engaging and supporting the local community includes a long-standing willingness to offer a unique look at fish farming in Nova Scotia. We provide tours of our facility, which include discussions of aquaculture in the region and its role in promoting a sustainable fishing industry. From kindergarten classes, to cubs and other community groups, to members of local universities and colleges, we’ve hosted fish enthusiasts of all ages. We’re passionate about our fish and take pride in discussing our operational model which results in a high quality product! Offering this inside perspective: promotes an interest in the natural sciences, works to clarify some common misunderstandings about fish farming, and further solidifies our place in the vibrant surrounding community. Interested in touring our facility – contact us here.