Alexandra Morton applauds B.C.’s first closed fish-farming tank

A long-time opponent of open-net fish farming has given the thumbs up to B.C.’s first-ever closed, floating salmon-farming tank.

“I think it’s great,” Alexandra Morton told the Straight by phone from her home on Vancouver Island. “I know the Namgis [First Nation] are doing something up here on land with the closed tank. I think that now is the time, and you’re going to see all kinds of entrepreneurs, who want to do this to make money.”

In a press release today (January 17), Vancouver-based AgriMarine Holdings announced its launch of the tank, in partnership with the Middle Bay Sustainable Aquaculture Institute, in Campbell River.

The release describes it as “the first marine based, commercial scale, closed containment tank for rearing salmon”.

Morton said she only has one concern.

“I’d prefer that they were completely out of the water, because the ocean always breaks everything that’s in it eventually,” she said. “But really, my hat is off to them [AgriMarine] and all power to them. I mean, this is what needs to happen. This is the answer—closed containment. It could be a B.C. industry. Once you go into closed containment, you can grow a lot of exciting things, like algae, for example. People should really look into that—sunlight and water and you are making food.”

Additionally important, she said, is the fact that, “you’d be raising the bottom of the food chain and not the top of the food chain. That’s the way the planet works, it works from the bottom up.”

According to the AgriMarine release, the tank will be operational once life support and waste recovery systems are installed and the transfer of Chinook fingerlings into the tank is completed.



Just wondering

Jan 18, 2011 at 8:56am

The only way is out of the water altogether as this is the only way we have of making sure it is done right and that we wll be able to monitor. Bring them out of the water and be done with it. Any cost will be passed on to the buyer of the fish so whats the problem?

Closed? Really?

Jan 18, 2011 at 9:26am

Two important points;

1. This "tank in the water" is not closed containment. The water flows in and out. It catches some of the fish poop. This is an interesting project, but it's not "closed containment".
2. Not sure why Matthew Burrows chose this lady to 'endorse' this project. She knows little about aquaculture and doesn't believe in growing salmon, and she says as much in your story "you can grow algae...that's the way the planet works...from the bottom up.". Huh?

For a different (and more thorough) story on this project, check this out;

Mike Summers

Jan 18, 2011 at 4:18pm

But it is a VAST improvement on what we have been doing to date. And if it catches the sea lice that attach to fish, it will help to.
And, did you notice that the natives are farming Chinook Salmon? (that's a west coast species so if any escape, WHO CARES?)


Jan 19, 2011 at 6:49am

My company is raising sockeye on land using fresh spring water, with no antibiotics or other chemicals. We are a BC company and you will see us start to advertise in a few months. Is this something you would buy, (at reasonable prices)?

Lawrence Boxall

Jan 20, 2011 at 8:58am

@info: Please explain how your company intends to feed the sockeye you are raising in a sustainable way.


Jan 21, 2011 at 6:47am

@ Lawrence - We use locally produced fish feed. It's protein comes from by-catch of other fisheries. Sockeye need high protein feed and no one in the world has developed a plant based protein feed for sockeye. We need sales and profits to pay for the R&D to develop such a feed. We are trying!


Jan 22, 2011 at 8:47pm

Explain how a salt water fish can be raised to harvest in fresh water ? I don't believe the taste would be the same. And you are probably feeding the same feed as salt water farms.


Jan 24, 2011 at 7:10am

@Bishoptopawn - All Salmon are born and raised in fresh water in the wild. As they get older they migrate to the open ocean to spend their life as adults, probably because fresh water rivers and lakes can't support the population, and they need more food. When they get older and want to spawn they return to fresh water. Nature has enabled salmon to spend part of their lives in fresh water, and we utilize that evolution to raise them in fresh water. It is actually quite easy to do so and requires no manipulation except to only keep them in fresh water.