[Halifax] — While the world aquaculture industry grows rapidly in response to rising demand for quality seafood, its progress in Canada is dogged by environmental controversy, regulatory and jurisdictional confusion and concerns over food safety.

That’s why the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies (AIMS) and the Canadian Aquaculture Institute (CAI) have launched a joint project to improve both public policy and public understanding with respect to aquaculture on the east coast and nationally. The first initiative of this joint project, How to farm the seas: The science, economics, and politics of aquaculture, will bring together a team of leading national and international experts to clarify both the strengths and weaknesses of aquaculture, and to discuss the basis for a sensible public policy to govern the industry. Among the many subjects that will be dealt with are:

How has aquaculture progressed in other countries, and how does Canada stack up?
What are the genuine environmental and health challenges posed by aquaculture, and what scientific tools do we have to deal with them?
Why does public policy surrounding aquaculture appear to be so confused, and how can that confusion be overcome?
Why is the industry so ineffective in responding to environmental and other criticisms that have little foundation in science?
How should aquaculture fit in to the economy and society of our coastal communities?
What practical steps can industry, coastal communities and governments take now to ensure aquaculture’s future as a sustainable and prosperous industry on the east coast?
Bill Robertson, Director of East Coast Aquaculture Operations for Connors Brothers Limited and one of the keynote speakers at the conference stated, “Those of us who work in aquaculture welcome the opportunity to participate in How to Farm the Seas. The aquaculture industry now has a very positive impact on the Canadian economy and there is potential for significant growth. As well, we feel strongly that our operations are carried out in an environmentally sustainable way. However, there is a great deal of work to be done to foster a greater public understanding of what aquaculture is and how it fits into the Canadian economy.”

Mr. Robertson is one of a host of national and international experts who will address the conference, according to AIMS President and Conference Co-Chairman Brian Lee Crowley. “Some of the biggest names in the science, economics and public policy of aquaculture will be converging on PEI this September, including James Anderson from the University of Rhode Island, Federal Aquaculture Commissioner Yves Bastien, Tor Horsberg of the Norwegian School of Veterinary Medicine, Douglas Powell, Director, Agri-Food Risk Management and Communication Project, University of Guelph, and Brian Rogers, an internationally recognised authority on aquaculture regulation, to name just a few.” The list of confirmed conference presenters is attached.

Conference Co-Chairman, Professor Gerry Johnson of UPEI’s Atlantic Veterinary College, notes that, “This conference will be indispensable for people from the industry, business, government, the universities, the media and others interested in the true state of aquaculture, both today and in the future.”

The conference will take place Sept 28, 29, 30, 2000 at the Rodd Brudenell River Resort, Montague, PEI. Registration opens 1 June 2000. Details are available on the AIMS website at www.aims.ca

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For further information, please contact:

Brian Lee Crowley, President, AIMS: 902-499-1998, BrianLeeCrowley@aims.ca

Gerry Johnson, Professor, Atlantic Veterinary College, UPEI: 902-566-0853, gjohnson@upei.ca
Click here for more details about the conference, speakers, registration, etc.