The Government of Canada has announced new research projects to bring genomics solutions to industry challenges through Genome Canada. \"Better Feed for Better Fish: Biomarker Platform for Commercial Aquaculture Feed Development\" is one of seven projects selected for funding in the second round of funding under the program.
The health of farmed salmon in Canada is threatened by infectious diseases including those caused by pathogenic viruses and bacteria. The quality of feed can affect salmon health, but currently there is no way to measure how effective it is apart from growth rates – if fish grow bigger, faster, then presumably the feed is effective.
This project, co-led by Ewos research scientist Richard Taylor and Memorial University associate professor Matthew Rise, seeks to develop tools to better assess salmon health from their genes. Scientists at Memorial University and EWOS Innovation will jointly develop a platform to quantify the expression of multiple genes related to health and performance, using a single biological sample. This will allow EWOS, one of the world’s largest producers of aquafeeds, to develop novel, high-quality feeds. New feeds will be commercialized within the life of the project and continue for three to five years following the project’s completion. Some of these feeds will focus on growth, while others – clinical feeds – will focus on combatting the infections that are currently reducing salmon numbers.
The research will strengthen salmon aquaculture in Canada, in particular by reducing disease among farmed salmon. In addition, some project results will be shared as intellectual property, supporting growth in the sector. Finally, a focus on the use of Canadian raw materials in developing the feeds will also strengthen the feed supply industry.