Vancouver Island University’s Deep Bay Marine Field Station has been identified as a potential location for the establishment of a regional food innovation centre.
Deep Bay is one of six sites in the province to receive funding from the provincial government to develop a feasibility study or business plan to determine the potential and capacity to offer a food processing centre in their region.
“We are grateful for the support from the Ministry of Agriculture,” says manager Carl Butterworth. “This is an exciting opportunity for the Deep Bay Marine Field Station. We have the majority of infrastructure in place already and the potential is there to become a world-recognized seafood product innovation centre on Canada’s west coast.”
The facility, a marine biological research facility in Bowser that is operated by the university’s Centre for Shellfish Research, is perfectly positioned to become a dedicated seafood hub space, as it is close to the majority of shellfish operations on the Island, approximately one hour south of Campbell River, and one hour north of VIU’s Nanaimo campus.
The Ministry of Agriculture launched the B.C. Food Innovation Network in November 2018 as part of the Feed BC mandate. The network will be made up of regionally scaled and interconnected food hubs, linking food producers and processors with shared technology, research and development, production equipment, expertise and services.
More than $176,000 was dedicated for the first round of studies, which identified opportunities in various areas across British Columbia. Deep Bay received $62,500 from the province to complete a feasibility study for a Seafood Innovation Centre integrated into the existing research centre.
According to the Ministry of Agriculture there are more than 100 species of wild and farmed fish, shellfish and marine plants harvested commercially in BC.
The feasibility study showed there is broad support across the different seafood sectors in the province for an innovation centre that focuses on a number of challenges the industry faces, including improving processing capabilities through new technologies and food sciences support.
— NEWS Staff, submitted