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

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson outlines the province’s three-year budget in Victoria, April 20, 2021. (B.C. government video)
B.C. deficit to grow by $19 billion for COVID-19 recovery spending

Pandemic-year deficit $5 billion lower than forecast

FILE – Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs have agreed to sign a memorandum on rights and title with B.C. and Ottawa, but elected chiefs are demanding it be called off over lack of consultation. (Thom Barker photo)
Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs, Lake Babine Nation get provincial funding for land, title rights

Government says it’s a new, flexible model for future agreements between Canada, B.C. and First Nations.

The property on which a residential school (pictured) that was torn down years ago in Lower Post is to be the location of a cultural centre. (Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre photo)
Lower Post residential school building to be demolished, replaced with cultural centre

Project to be funded by federal and provincial governments, Daylu Dena Council

Photo collage of loved ones lost to substance use and overdose. (Photo courtesy Moms Stop The Harm)
B.C. overdose deaths still rising 5 years after public health emergency declared

Moms Stop the Harm calls on B.C. to provide safe supply in response to deadly illicit drug use

Restaurant patrons enjoy the weather on a patio in Vancouver, B.C., Monday, April 5, 2021. The province has suspended indoor dining at restaurants and pubs until at least April 19 in B.C. due to a spike in COVID-19 numbers. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. sets new COVID-19 daily record with 1,293 cases Thursday

New order allows workplace closures when infections found

FILE – NDP Leader John Horgan, right, and local candidate Mike Farnworth greet one another with an elbow bump during a campaign stop in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday, September 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. won’t be using random individual road stops to enforce travel rules: Safety Minister

Minister Mike Farnworth says travel checks only being considered at major highway junctions, ferry ports

A man pauses at a coffin after carrying it during a memorial march to remember victims of overdose deaths in Vancouver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. announces historic half-billion-dollar funding for overdose crisis, mental health

Of it, $152 million will be used to address the opioid crisis and see the creation of 195 new substance use treatment beds

Children’s backpacks and shoes are seen at a CEFA (Core Education and Fine Arts) Early Learning daycare franchise, in Langley, B.C., on Tuesday May 29, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. budget to expand $10-a-day child care, but misses the mark on ‘truly universal’ system

$111 million will be used to fund 3,750 new $10-a-day spaces though 75 additional ChildCareBC universal prototype sites over the next three years.

Mak Parhar speaks at an anti-mask rally outside the Vancouver Art Gallery on Sunday, Nov. 1, 2020. Parhar was arrested on Nov. 2 and charged with allegedly violating the Quarantine Act after returning from a Flat Earth conference held in Geenville, South Carolina on Oct. 24. (Flat Earth Focker/YouTube.com screenshot)
Judge tosses lawsuit of B.C. COVID-denier who broke quarantine after Flat Earth conference

Mak Parhar accused gov, police of trespass, malfeasance, extortion, terrorism, kidnapping and fraud

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Ambulance paramedic in full protective gear works outside Lion’s Gate Hospital, March 23, 2020. Hospitals are seeing record numbers of COVID-19 patients more than a year into the pandemic. (The Canadian Press)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate declines, 849 cases Tuesday

Up to 456 people now in hospital, 148 in intensive care

Christy Clark, who was premier from 2011 to 2017, is the first of several present and past politicians to appear this month before the Cullen Commission, which is investigating the causes and impact of B.C.’s money-laundering problem over the past decade. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)
Christy Clark says she first learned of money-laundering spike in 2015

The former B.C. premier testified Tuesday she was concerned the problem was ‘apparently at an all-time high’

Most Read