The multi-disciplinary approach to aquaculture research at SABS aims to enhance the economic and environmental sustainability of the Canadian aquaculture industry. This includes research on salmon culture, new finfish and shellfish species, oceanography, and environmental issues.
For the past 15 years, research on Atlantic halibut has been successful - from the production of the first halibut in North America to subsequent technology transfer to industry. Research continues on genetic markers and production methods to improve broodstock including the production of all female offspring which grow larger and faster, thus providing a more profitable product.
Over the past 5 years, Atlantic cod culture research has refined methods for egg collection, feed production and tank design. In 2004, the first Atlantic cod broodstock families in North America were produced. SABS is a significant partner in the Cod Genomics and Broodstock Development Program that is identifying and selecting elite broodstock through the application of selective breeding and genetic mapping.
SABS quarantine facility is used to study the efficacy of vaccines for Infectious Salmon Anemia (ISA), a viral disease that has caused losses for the salmon industry in recent years.
Environmental studies for aquaculture include investigating certain treatments used for disease control and their risk to the ecosystem. Currently, the relationship between the use of antibiotics in aquaculture and antibiotic-resistant bacteria in sediment close to aquaculture sites is under study.
In addition to environmental research on aquaculture interactions,the current focus is on the biological effects of pesticides and contaminants associated with the oil and gas industry on various fish species. In particular, we are studying the impact on Atlantic salmon exposure to various pesticides during the latter stages of parr to smolt transformation focusing on survival, growth and some biochemical responses to determine potential hazardous effects. Studies on possible biochemical responses of juvenile cod exposed to produced water, and oil and gas dispersants are underway.