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Scotland’s Visit to Canada: Aligned in a Common Pursuit

By Ruth Salmon, Canadian Aquaculture Industry Alliance (CAIA)

“If you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange these apples, then you and I will each still have one apple. But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas.”

~ George Bernard Shaw

In November 2012, our organisation hosted a National Forum event in Ottawa, Ontario Canada to provide a platform for information exchange among producers, suppliers, regulators and policy makers on the development of Canada’s aquaculture industry.

The event’s agenda focussed on the National Aquaculture Development Strategy for Canada – a clear national strategy for industry growth, competitiveness, and legal and business certainty.

In this setting, Scott Landsburgh emerged as an ideal candidate to be our Keynote Speaker. Those in international salmon farming circles know him well: Scott is the Chief Executive of the Scottish Salmon Producers’ Organisation (SSPO) and has led Scotland’s salmon farmers in achieving some impressive accomplishments which today are paying dividends in industry stability and growth.

Our membership was certain he would have experience and insights that they could benefit from – and they weren’t disappointed. His invigorating talk covered Scottish industry milestones, the political environment and SSPO’s strategic regulatory and policy reform activities. He set the prefect tone for the presentations and discussions to follow.

The obstacles to growth for salmon farmers – be they environmental, regulatory, fiscal or political – of course vary from country to country. As do the methods and mechanisms for addressing them. Yet, for all of our differences, there is much to be gained by sharing in our experiences, lessons learned and best practices.

The opportunities for global aquaculture were well-articulated by Brian Lee Crowley, Managing Director of the Macdonald Laurier Institute, an Ottawa-based think tank who also spoke at the CAIA event. In his talk, The Blue Revolution: Why Canada Needs to Do Better at Farming the Seas, he identified that a fifth of humanity finds its main source of protein in fish, and those people are concentrated disproportionately in the developing world. By 2020 the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization foresees a shortfall of 50 million metric tonnes in our ability to supply the world’s demand for food from the sea.

Brian reminded the audience that the aquaculture industry is the fastest growing animal protein producing sector, with per capita supply increasing 6.6 percent annually. Given this current growth rate – together with the tremendous potential for future growth – all salmon producers alike have a very real opportunity to participate in solving the problem of how to meet the increasing demand for quality fish protein. It is to this aim that we should proudly embrace ongoing collaboration at a global level.

We truly benefited from our time with Scott as it gave us the opportunity to compare best practices and share ideas for moving the Canadian industry forward. Moreover, it was an uplifting reminder, that despite the unique day-to-day environments in which we operate, salmon farmers from around the world are aligned in the pursuit of providing healthy, nutritious quality seafood to feed future generations.

Ruth Salmon is Executive Director of the Canadian Aquaculture Industry Alliance

(CAIA), the national industry association representing Canada’s finfish, shellfish and aquatic plant farmers, feed companies and suppliers, as well as regional aquaculture associations.