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Saskatchewan's aquaculture industry consists of about 108 licensed hatcheries and 2,000 licensed producers. Of these, eleven hatcheries and eighty production units are of commercial level. Unlike terrestrial agriculture, which is regulated by Saskatchewan Agriculture Food and Rural Revitalization, aquaculture is regulated by Saskatchewan Environment and Resource Management (SERM). SERM licenses hatcheries and fish production in aquaculture facilities within Saskatchewan.

The most important aquaculture species in Saskatchewan is rainbow trout: the province ranks third among Canadian provinces, producing about 875 tonnes per year of this species. Commercial production of rainbow trout is almost entirely from the Cangro Fish Farm on Lake Diefenbaker. This facility was started in 1993 and is owned by the Saskatchewan Wheat Pool. Cangro raises rainbow trout from hatchlings to a two-kilogram market size, which are filleted and packaged on site and sold throughout North America.

While Saskatchewan aquaculture production is relatively small, the province may have a larger impact on the international aquaculture industry as a supplier of specialty feed ingredients. Aquaculture currently relies heavily on fish meal and fish oil from the capture fisheries as the primary feed ingredients for most aquaculture species. However, the explosive growth of aquaculture around the world has so much increased demand on these commodities that shortages are expected within the next ten years. Saskatchewan crops such as Canola and peas have been shown to be excellent sources of protein for the replacement of fish meal in aquaculture diets; several Saskatchewan companies are developing protein concentrates of peas and canola that further improve the nutritional value of these products as fish meal replacements. Fish oil is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, which enhance the nutrient value of fish to consumers. Most vegetable oils, however, are poor sources of omega-3 fatty acids. The exception to this is linseed oil produced from Flax; whole flax seed contains approximately 24% omega-3 fatty acids which, with the proper processing, is very palatable to aquaculture species. Aquaculture is a large, high-valued opportunity for the expansion of both fish and crop production in Saskatchewan.

Murray D. Drew

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Further Reading

Office of the Commissioner for Aquaculture Development. 2000. Current Status and Potential of the Canadian Aquaculture Industry. Ottawa: Department of Fisheries and Oceans.
This web site was produced with financial assistance
provided by Western Economic Diversification Canada and the Government of Saskatchewan.
University of Regina Government of Canada Government of Saskatchewan Canadian Plains Research Center
Ce site Web a été conçu grâce à l'aide financière de
Diversification de l'économie de l'Ouest Canada et le gouvernement de la Saskatchewan.