CFIA approves camelina oil for use in Atlantic salmon feed

“Genome Atlantic and its partners have transformed a tiny seed into a big opportunity, creating an innovative, alternative solution with long-term benefits to industry.  This kind of work is at the heart of positioning Canada as a world-leading innovation economy.”

– The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister Responsible for ACOA.

Halifax, NS – The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has approved the use of mechanically-extracted camelina oil as a feed ingredient for farmed salmon and trout.

Camelina sativa, or false flax, is a hardy oilseed plant that is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, protein and antioxidants. This super-nutritious plant is used as a vegetable oil for human consumption and as an ingredient or supplement in some animal feeds. Fish feed manufacturers have also explored the use of crop-based oilseeds like camelina as viable and cost-efficient substitutes for wild-sourced fish oils and proteins currently used in fish feeds.

A recently completed large-scale study of camelina oil managed by Genome Atlantic with support from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA)’s Atlantic Innovation Fund, found camelina to be an excellent match to the fatty acid composition required in the diets of farmed fish. Backed by this compelling evidence, Genome Atlantic applied to the CFIA for approval of camelina oil for use in fish feeds.

“Genome Atlantic and its partners have transformed a tiny seed into a big opportunity, creating an innovative, alternative solution with long-term benefits to industry,” said the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for ACOA. “This kind of work is at the heart of positioning Canada as a world-leading innovation economy. The Government of Canada will continue to focus on skilled, talented and creative people and projects such as this, that create jobs and grow the middle class.”

Aquaculture scientist Dr. Chris Parrish of Memorial University, one of the study’s principal researchers, says that camelina oil has characteristics that make it a particularly promising alternative in fish diets. “Among the oils that can be used to replace fish oil in aquafeeds, camelina is one of the few with high levels of omega-3 fatty acids. While these omega-3 fatty acids are different to those present in fish oils, they enhance the ability of fish to synthesize the healthful long-chain omega-3 fatty acids that are needed for their optimal growth. This, in turn, ensures a healthful fillet for human consumers,” said Dr. Parrish.

“Investments in industry-led R&D in Atlantic Canada lead to tangible benefits.

– Steve Armstrong, President & CEO of Genome Atlantic.

Another of the study’s principal researchers, Dr. Claude Caldwell of Dalhousie University, explains that the scientists found camelina oil to be sufficiently nutritious to replace all the fish oil in feeds, as well as some of the ground fish meal. “The use of wild-sourced fish to feed the farmed fish is not sustainable either ecologically or economically. Camelina could be a viable alternative,” he said. Considering that aquaculture companies spend 50 to 70 percent of their budgets on feed, finding a high-quality, lower cost source of oil could mean significant savings.

While the CFIA’s recent approval only covers camelina oil, Dr. Caldwell and his Dalhousie team are currently conducting feeding trials for the CFIA on camelina meal. “Camelina meal can’t entirely replace fish meal used in fish feeds, but it could replace some of that meal,” he said.

Camelina is grown in many parts of the world, including North America. Dr. Caldwell suggests camelina could be a good rotation crop for potatoes, making it a potentially viable option for farmers in Maritime Canada. “There are about 200,000 acres of potatoes planted in this region. Camelina could be a successful rotation crop that could open new markets for farmers while making the aquaculture industry healthier and more sustainable,” said Dr. Caldwell.

“Investments in industry-led R&D in Atlantic Canada lead to tangible benefits. In this instance, the generous support of ACOA and other collaborators on the Camelina Project has led to opening up a potential new market for our regional farmers and a sustainable alternative feed ingredient for our aquaculture producers,” said Steve Armstrong, President & CEO of Genome Atlantic.

The Camelina Project also received support from The Research and Development Corporation of Newfoundland and Labrador (RDC), the provinces of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, the University of Saskatchewan, Memorial University, Dalhousie University, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Minas Seeds, Cooke Aquaculture, and Genome Prairie.

For more information about the Camelina Project:

COMPLETED Camelina: Canada’s Next Oilseed

Charmaine Gaudet, Director of External Relations, Genome Atlantic, 902-421-5683; 902-488-7837;
Alex Smith, Director, Communications, ACOA Nova Scotia, 902-426-9417; 902-830-3839;

New genomics project aims to reduce co-infection in Atlantic salmon

October 11, 2016, Halifax, NS – Scientists at Memorial University of Newfoundland and the University of Prince Edward Island (UPEI) are partnering with industry partner EWOS/Cargill to develop new therapeutic diets for farmed Atlantic salmon. The initiative could lead to healthier fish and significant savings for the Canadian aquaculture industry.

View Project

New project mixes genomics and geology to de-risk Nova Scotia’s offshore

HALIFAX, July 11, 2016 – A new initiative that links marine bacteria with traditional geoscience aims to bolster oil exploration in Nova Scotia’s offshore.

A $4.9-million, three-year project, Microbial Genomics for De-risking Offshore Oil and Gas Exploration in Nova Scotia, was announced by Parliamentary Secretary for Science, Terry Beech. It is one of four national research collaborations awarded through Genome Canada’s Genomic Applications Partnership Program (GAPP).

The project will help to create a comprehensive snapshot of Nova Scotia’s offshore with the goal of making it more attractive to oil and gas companies.

“This work builds on the Play Fairway Analysis that reduced risk for investors and helped attract over $2 billion in new exploration to Nova Scotia,” said Michel Samson, Minister of Energy. “This new research is an exciting and unique opportunity to gain an even deeper understanding of our offshore petroleum resources, position Nova Scotia as globally attractive, and generate new industry interest.”

The project is a collaboration between Genome Atlantic and Genome Alberta, the Offshore Energy Research Association (OERA), the Nova Scotia Government, the Geological Survey of Canada, the University of Calgary, and Mitacs.

“Genomics is proving to be an invaluable tool to a range of sectors in Atlantic Canada,” says Steve Armstrong, President and CEO of Genome Atlantic. “We are very pleased to see so many partners working together to bring these innovations to our region.”

Under the guidance of Adam MacDonald, Senior Geophysicist with the Nova Scotia Department of Energy, core samples from the ocean bottom will be collected and subjected to a detailed geochemical analysis. In parallel, University of Calgary microbiologists led by Dr. Casey Hubert will use genomics – the combination of genetics, biology and computer science that helps us understand the DNA of every living thing – to identify the presence of marine bacteria associated with hydrocarbons, which can indicate that oil is nearby.

Integrating the genomics with geoscience maps and data can help pinpoint areas for exploration, reducing the associated risks.

“This is a tremendous opportunity to expand the information we have about our offshore resources,” says Stephen Dempsey, Executive Director, OERA, which helped develop the project and will manage its three-year duration. “The knowledge gained from this research will really benefit Nova Scotians and help set our region apart.”

Project funding is provided by the Nova Scotia Department of Energy at $2.57 million in in-kind contributions; Genome Canada at $1.59 million; Geological Survey of Canada (Natural Resources Canada) at $402,274 in-kind contributions; University of Calgary at $260,906 in-kind contributions; and Mitacs at $44,994.

For more information:

Sue Coueslan

Genome Atlantic



Stephen Dempsey

Offshore Energy Research Association

Tel: 902-237-6282



Marla MacInnis

Nova Scotia Department of Energy



Genome Atlantic is a not-for-profit corporation with a mission to help Atlantic Canada reap the economic and social benefits of genomics and other ‘omics technologies. Working with a broad range of partners, we help companies, genomics researchers and others collaborate around strategic R&D initiatives that create sustainable improvements in agriculture, aquaculture and fisheries, energy, the environment, forestry, human health and mining.

The Offshore Energy Research Association (OERA) is an independent, not-for-profit organization that funds and facilitates collaborative offshore energy and environmental research.  OERA’s mission is to lead environmental, renewable and geoscience energy research that enables the sustainable development of Nova Scotia’s energy resources through strategic partnerships with academic, government and industry.  Since its establishment in 2006, the OERA has invested over $30 million in research, funded by the Province of Nova Scotia through the Department of Energy.

For more information, please visit the OERA website at