BC Aquaculture Innovation Awards dangle $325,000 in prizes for 3 lucky winners

Applications are now open for the 2021 BC Aquaculture Innovation Awards, which will see 10 finalists compete for $325,000 in prizes.

Credit: Mowi Canada West via Twitter

Mowi Canada West has aquaculture operations along the B.C. coast

The competition, which will see 10 finalists make their pitches in May, comes on the heels of the federal decision to phase out open-pen fish farms in the Discovery Islands

Got an innovative idea for the B.C. aquaculture industry? The provincial Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries (MAFF) and Innovate BC want to hear from you soon.

Applications are now open for the 2021 BC Aquaculture Innovation Awards, which will see 10 finalists present their pitches to a panel of judges on May 5. The two winners will each take home $150,000 in cash, and attendees can cast their votes for the $25,000 fan favourite award.

Besides having the chance to pitch, finalists will get access to the awards’ customer advisory group, which consists of potential buyers. The event will interest industry buyers and stakeholders, aquaculture companies and innovators curious about how they can benefit from provincial programs, and potential investors, the organizers say.

The awards are in play as B.C.’s aquaculture industry reels from the federal government’s recent announcement that it will force all 19 open-net fish farms in the province’s Discovery Islands to shut down by next June. Premier John Horgan said that his government was blindsided by the move, which could affect as many as 1,500 jobs. Two international aquaculture players with B.C. operations, Mowi Canada West and Cermaq Canada, are taking the feds to court—a move denounced by the First Nations Leadership Council, which says open-net fish farming threatens wild salmon populations.

The application deadline is Monday, March 8. To be eligible, you must be a B.C.-based company whose aquaculture innovation has a prototype, proven manufacturability, market readiness or a commercial product.

To apply or register for the BC Aquaculture Innovation Awards, click here.