Kwantlen hooks grant to study fish disease

KPU spearheads salmon disease breakthrough

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By MELBAH GRACE JACOB

Kwantlen Polytechnic University has received a $278,000 grant to study disease-causing bacteria harmful to the B.C. salmon population. 

The money comes from the British Columbia Salmon Restoration and Innovation Fund with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. 

Kwantlen is creating a test that can find bacteria causing diseases in Canada’s salmon, especially with a harmful bacterium called Aeromonas salmonicida. It plans to finish the project by the end of 2024 and make the test generally available. 

Kyle Kaba, agreements manager of the fund said, “Key areas of focus include the restoration of salmon habitat, sustainability improvements for commercial and recreational fishing, and aquaculture, as well as science and research initiatives.” 

Since its inception in 2019, the fund has supported 97 projects, totalling approximately $128 million of federal and provincial money. The federal government is giving an extra $100 million, and B.C. is putting in an additional $42.85 million.  

Lara Sloan, communications adviser at Fisheries and Oceans Canada, said the fund focuses on innovation, infrastructure, and science partnerships. “The federal government pays 70 per cent and B.C. pays 30 per cent and this partnership will continue until March 31, 2026,” she said. 

Bobby Clarke, who runs Daily Catch Seafood Company in Vancouver, thinks this work is essential. “As someone who makes part of his living by selling salmon, I do believe it’s beneficial. Knowledge is power, and the more we know of something, the better we can handle it,” he said by email.  

“Saving wild B.C. salmon populations should be one of the main goals of the Canadian fisheries,” Clarke said. 

The fund is open for project support until 2026, said Kaba. 

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