New Brunswick Halibut Farming Looks Promising
Data from a research project looking at the viability of farming halibut in New Brunswick's Bay of Fundy won't be in until next spring, but researchers expect positive results.
For the last three years, a team has been growing 50,000 halibut in offshore cages in Lime Kiln Bay, owned by Canadian Halibut. Over that time the team has looked at all aspects of farming halibut, such as optimum size to introduce juveniles from hatcheries to cages and the best way to feed them, to the shape of the cages and the profitability of bringing them to market.
Beginning next month and throughout the winter, the first halibut from the test population will be harvested and sent to market with the potential to sell for around $7 per pound.
"Everything so far is looking very encouraging. It will mean that we have an opportunity to diversify our aquaculture industry here in New Brunswick," lead researcher Tillman Benfey, professor of biology at the University of New Brunswick, told the New Brunswick Telegraph Journal. "I think we are at the point now where we have enough data to show [Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency], Business New Brunswick and even the banks that it's worth pursuing this. It's certainly not going to be a bust. On the biological side and the economic side, it looks promising enough that we can encourage the investment."
The project was funded by $168,100 from the New Brunswick Innovation Foundation as well as $2 million in government funding for concept validation of the viability of raising halibut in an aquaculture environment.