Oyster farmer Rob Tryon and a farmhand prepare a harvest for market in 2014 on Vancouver Island. Innovate BC is launching its first innovation in aquaculture awards this May with prizes totalling $350,000. (Photo by Quinn Bender)

Oyster farmer Rob Tryon and a farmhand prepare a harvest for market in 2014 on Vancouver Island. Innovate BC is launching its first innovation in aquaculture awards this May with prizes totalling $350,000. (Photo by Quinn Bender)

$350K up for grabs at first-ever aquaculture innovation awards

Innovate BC accepting submissions that increase environmental, social, economic sustainability

Innovators in B.C. aquaculture are vying for $350,000 in prize money in the first-ever awards event for the burgeoning seafood sector.

The Aquaculture Innovation Awards, hosted by the B.C. government through its Innovate BC program, will be given to projects that encourage sustainable growth, competitiveness and adaptability, while solving challenges faced by B.C. aquaculture — whether finfish, shellfish, seaweed, or any other ocean-based food.

Raghwa Gopal, president and CEO of Innovate BC hopes to see saleable innovations for aquaculture directly, as well as adjacent sectors.

“Rather than being prescriptive we provided open and flexible call to see what innovation could exist. We want this to be market driven.

READ MORE: Build a better blue economy through responsible aqauaculture

“The needs and pain points are known, but sometimes you don’t even realize what could be a new and better way to resolve your challenges, until innovation is presented.”

Following a first round of judging, the Top 10 finalists will pitch to attendees of the May 5 virtual event and hear feedback from potential buyers. Two $150,000 prizes will be selected by a panel of judges and a $25,000 fan-favourite award will be voted on by the live audience.

In 2019 the farm-gate value in B.C. aquaculture was worth about $708 million.

Conversations about the sector however is often overshadowed by wild fisheries management, particularly Pacific salmon populations experiencing record-low numbers.

READ MORE: B.C. scientists look at climate change impacts on aquaculture production

Finn Donnelly, B.C.’s fisheries and aquaculture parliamentary secretary, said the province will continue stepping outside its traditional jurisdiction to work with the federal government on wild stock recovery, but it’s important also to encourage development in aquaculture for its economic and social payoffs.

“There is no question it has been a difficult and challenging year for our B.C. fisheries and aquaculture sectors. The pandemic has showed us just how important it is to invest in B.C. food security and local supply chains,” Donnelly said

“We will continue to work closely with the fisheries and aquaculture industry and ensure their products can continue to be enjoyed safely here at home and around the world.”



quinn.bender@blackpress.ca

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Ucluelet locals Rachael, Caroline and Tom enjoy refreshments on a sunny Monday afternoon at a picnic table dining area set up by the District of Ucluelet to help residents and visitors support local businesses while staying outside. (Andrew Bailey photo)
Ucluelet chamber launches bingo contest to support local restaurants

Four Ucluelet Co-op shopping sprees are up for grabs in #Ukee2go competition.

The entrance to the Lodge Property on Reef Point Road. (Nora O’Malley photo)
Virtual public hearing held for the Lodge Property in Ucluelet

Mayor and council to make a final decision during the April 14 regular council meeting

The Pacific Rim National Park Reserve’s Green Point Campground saw an unprecedented flurry of reservations last week. (Pacific Rim National Park Reserve photo)
Pacific Rim National Park Reserve’s campground sees ‘unprecedented’ interest as reservations open

Green Point Campground is scheduled to open from May 1 – Oct. 12 this year.

Kale is a classic in West Coast gardens.
COLUMN: Kale reigns supreme in West Coast gardens

In Tofino and Ucluelet, kale is a classic.

(B.C. Government photo)
POLL QUESTION: Are you in favour of B.C.’s three-week ban on in-restaurant dining?

Dr. Bonnie Henry called the three week stoppage a “circuit breaker”

Burnaby MLA Raj Chouhan presides as Speaker of the B.C. legislature, which opened it spring session April 12 with a speech from the throne. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C. NDP promises more health care spending, business support in 2021 budget

John Horgan government to ‘carefully return to balanced budgets’

Protesters occupied a road leading to Fairy Creek Watershed near Port Renfrew. (Submitted photo)
B.C. First Nation says logging activist interference not welcome at Fairy Creek

Vancouver Island’s Pacheedaht concerned about increasing polarization over forestry activities

Flow Academy is not accepting membership applications from anybody who has received a dose of the vaccine, according to a password-protected membership application form. (Submitted image)
B.C. martial arts gym refusing patrons who have been vaccinated, wear masks

Interior Health has already issued a ticket to Flow Academy for non-compliance with public health orders

Guinevere, lovingly referred to by Jackee Sullivan and her family as Gwenny, is in need of a gynecological surgery. The family is raising money to help offset the cost of the procedure. (Jackee Sullivan/Special to Langley Advance Times)
Langley lizard’s owners raise funds for gynecological surgery

The young reptile is scheduled for operation on Tuesday

Facebook screenshot of the sea lion on Holberg Road. (Greg Clarke Facebook video)
VIDEO: Sea lion randomly spotted on remote B.C. logging road

Greg Clarke was driving home on the Holberg Road April 12, when he saw a large sea lion.

Defence counsel for the accused entered two not guilty pleas by phone to Grand Forks Provincial Court Tuesday, Jan. 12. File photo
B.C. seafood company owner fined $25K for eating receipt, obstructing DFO inspection

Richmond company Tenshi Seafood is facing $75,000 in fines as decided March 4 by a provincial court judge

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson speaks in the B.C. legislature, March 2, 2021. (Hansard TV)
B.C. NDP ministers defend ‘air tax,’ latest COVID-19 business aid

Empty home tax doesn’t apply to businesses, but space above them

In Ontario, COVID-19 vaccine clinics have been set up at local mosques. (Submitted photo: Rufaida Mohammed)
Getting the vaccine does not break your fast, says Muslim COVID-19 task force

Muslim community ‘strongly’ encouraging people to get their shot, whether or not during Ramadan

A vehicle that was driven through the wall of a parkade at Uptown Shopping Centre and into the nearby Walmart on April 9 was removed through another hole in the wall later that night. (Photo via Saanich Police Department and Ayush Kakkar)
Police: mental health crisis likely in car driven through Saanich Walmart wall

Man in his early 20s drove through a parkade wall, no serious injuries reported

Most Read