It’s Official! Official Opening today!

 Provincial Government Release: New research facility revitalizing coastal aquaculture

 DEEP BAY – Finding new and more sustainable ways of farming shellfish, and helping re-energize B.C.’s coastal aquaculture industry are the aims of an innovative research facility that brings students and researchers together in Deep Bay.

The Deep Bay Marine Field Station is an off-campus research facility of the Centre for Shellfish Research at Vancouver Island University that supports sustainable shellfish aquaculture development along with encouraging preservation of coastal ecosystems.

In addition, it will help support First Nations shellfish aquaculture businesses through training and mentoring, strengthen innovation by increasing interaction between researchers and industry, and link research and training to support coastal economies.

Don McRae, MLA for Comox Valley and Minister of Agriculture, and Ron Cantelon, MLA for Parksville-Qualicum, joined representatives of the local Aboriginal communities, VIU executive, faculty, staff and students to officially open VIU’s newest facility at Deep Bay.

VIU received $5.5M for construction of the centre through the Knowledge Infrastructure Program. This includes more than $2.1 million from the provincial government and $3.4 million from the federal government.

The project is part of the federal government’s $2-billion plan to repair and expand research and educational facilities at Canadian post-secondary institutions. The Knowledge Infrastructure Program is a joint federal-provincial investment designed to renew infrastructure at post-secondary institutions across B.C. while also providing local jobs for communities. It was among 39 projects at post-secondary institutions across the province to receive funding from the Knowledge Infrastructure Program.


James Lunney, MP for Nanaimo-Alberni –

“Baynes Sound is the heart of the B.C. Shellfish industry; the new Deep Bay Marine Field Station will build on VIU’s reputation for excellence in Shellfish Research.  Combined with the Culinary Arts program, the new centre will integrate benefits to the shellfish and food industries with enhanced public education and tourism opportunities. This project is a model of what we were hoping to achieve in the Economic Action Plan.”

Don McRae, MLA for Comox Valley –

“The Province is proud to be a partner in this project, which will support a range of activities and research that lead to innovative new methods of aquaculture by providing a place for researchers and students to work together to develop new ideas and practices. It will also be a destination for families to come and learn about the ocean, and how nurturing our natural resources works to support a vital coastal industry.”

 Ron Cantelon, MLA for Parksville-Qualicum –

“Today we are celebrating Vancouver Island University’s efforts to revitalize coastal and First Nations communities. Through the research and training carried out at this field station, VIU is playing a key role in supporting the growth of aquaculture, and development of new jobs on Vancouver Island and the coast of B.C.”

Ralph Nilson, president and vice-chancellor of Vancouver Island University –

“We are very proud of this project and grateful for the funding that has been made available to VIU to make the station a reality. This field station will provide leading-edge teaching and research through VIU’s Centre for Shellfish Research. The field station will also stimulate job creation and demonstrate the innovative ways that our coastal environment can be protected and enhanced through consultation, collaboration and creative partnerships.”

Quick facts

  • Built to LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum standard using sustainable building technology.
  • Incorporates ‘wood first’ construction that uses over 87,000 board-feet of B.C. wood products, including solid wood structural floors made from beetle-killed pine.
  • The centre includes a seawater tank farm, laboratory, demonstration shellfish farm and a combined research facility for shellfish aquaculture, marine ecology and water quality.
  • The annual value of shellfish aquaculture harvested in B.C. is almost $30 million.
  • Approximately 323 companies are involved in shellfish aquaculture in B.C.
  • There are 512 shellfish aquaculture sites on B.C.’s coast.
  • Shellfish aquaculture production comes entirely out of rural coastal areas, where farms offer economic opportunities and create jobs for local families in the community.
  • Currently, most shellfish aquaculture occurs on the southern coast of British Columbia.

Learn more

Vancouver Island University:

Deep Bay Marine Field Station:

Provincial Aquaculture and Commercial Fisheries Program:

Knowledge Infrastructure Program:


Knowledge Infrastructure Program

The Knowledge Infrastructure Program is helping to provide economic stimulus and promote employment by creating jobs for engineers, architects, tradespeople and technicians. In B.C. the federal government is providing up to 50 per cent of the cost of selected projects on a cost-share basis with the Province.

The total investment in these projects is over $520 million including contributions from institutions. The projects are also part of an overall $14-billion capital infrastructure program supported by the Province to create jobs and vital public infrastructure in every region of B.C.

Canada’s Economic Action Plan set out to stimulate the Canadian economy and to improve our long-term competitiveness through $12 billion in new infrastructure investment, which includes the $2-billion Knowledge Infrastructure Program.

Contact: Joanne WhittierCommunications ManagerMinistry of Advanced Education

250 952-6400

250 893-5650 (cell)

Gary Toft

Director of Communications

Office of the Honourable Gary Goodyear

Minister of State (Science and Technology)

613 943-7599


Connect with the Province of B.C. at


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