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Manitoba promoting Prairie aquaculture

The Manitoba provincial and federal governments are partnering in a program to promote aquaculture in the laregly landlocked heart of Canada.

Rudy and Leslie Reimer, the proprietors of Riddel’s Roasters, will contribute approximately $350, 000 in existing infrastructure and $280, 000 in inputs and operating costs.

Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives Minister Rosann Wowchuk made the announcement today along with the Honourable Gail Shea, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO).

“The Government of Canada is committed to enhancing the global competitiveness, productivity and environmental performance of Canada’s aquaculture industry through AIMAP, which provides $23.5 million to Canada’s aquaculture industry over the next five years,” said Shea.  “By investing in projects such as the Manitoba-Canadian Model Aqua-Farm Initiative, DFO is supporting a vibrant producer sector that contributes to the economies of rural, coastal and First Nations communities.”

“Fish farming or aquaculture promotes innovation, entrepreneurship and industry diversity in rural Manitoba, and this industry has the potential to grow additional business opportunities through value-added activities while also adding to marketable food supplies,” added  Wowchuk. “Our province will be taking full advantage of the opportunity to lead the Canadian Model Aqua-Farm Initiative by moving forward with this business initiative.”

Wowchuk further noted that aquaculture is the fastest growing food production industry worldwide with the demand for fish and fish products escalating rapidly.  Close to half of the fish products eaten today come from aquaculture.

“The establishment of the Canadian Model Aqua-Farm is an important step in the evolution of sustainable land-based aquaculture,” said Dr. Grant Vandenberg, president of the funding group the Inter-provincial Partnership for Sustainable Freshwater Aquaculture Development (IPSFAD).  “IPSFAD is excited to be moving forward with this project as it validates our efforts to work closely with the freshwater industry to identify industry constraints and strategically coordinate actions to solve critical bottlenecks and permit aquaculture development in Canada through innovation, technology transfer and demonstration.”

“We are very excited and appreciate the opportunity to be involved in this innovative project,” said the Reimers.  “It will help us to diversify our existing farm operation and provide new opportunities for our family farm and our community.”

Manitoba’s fish farm will focus on rainbow trout which is not currently harvested commercially in the province and is expected to produce 100 tonnes of fish annually. Environmentally there is little impact due to the high level of water reuse in the production system.  Additionally, possible benefits include the availability of fish manure as a natural fertilizer.

Farm construction is slated for completion prior to the end of the 2008/09 fiscal year.

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