Alberta livestock farming of a different scale
Published Friday, February 15, 2013 4:01PM MST
Last Updated Friday, February 15, 2013 6:33PM MST
For most Albertans, the mention of livestock brings to mind images of barnyard animals, but one group of ranchers in our province have created a thriving underwater farming industry.
Aquaculture, the farming of fish, is an emerging business in the province with many of the fish being sold for a premium at market.
Currently, there are around a dozen fish farms in Alberta, but Alberta Agriculture expects the industry to increase by 10 per cent each year.
Canada exports 85% of our fish but the live fish farmed in Alberta is destined for local markets.
Mark McNaugton runs MDM Aquaculture in the hamlet of Rumsey, northeast of Calgary. McNaughton switched the focus of his farm from the raising of hogs to the raising of tilapia as hog margins were becoming too small. He says aquaculture was a fairly new concept to him.
“Before that time, we probably never even thought about it,” says McNaughton. “Like most people, we didn't know who was doing it, and how big the operations were.”
One of the stores purchasing McNaughton’s fish is T & T Supermarket in Calgary. The fish are transported live and are butchered at the store to ensure the customer is receiving the freshest fish possible.
The growing aquaculture industry is relying on the current trend of North Americans eating more fish than ever before.