“Growing” More than Fish at Raza Island…

Apr 22, 2015 3:00 PM ET

Cermaq Canada’s Raza Island farm, located near the mouth of Bute Inlet in the Discovery Islands, is home for approximately 600,000 Atlantic salmon. With a focus on growing some of the world’s best fish, the five farmers at this site take great pride in producing a high-quality product, while reducing their footprint on the environment.

As professional farmers they are known for technical skill and knowledge in growing fish and are amongst the best in the world at what they do. If you can grow fish, you can grow anything right? Well, through some good old-fashioned teamwork and a little innovation they decided to take their skills one step further and grow their own vegetables using fish compost developed for gardening.

What started as a father’s good deed to purchase soil and help his daughters’ fundraising efforts has now turned into a unique aqua-farming project. Surrounded by pristine B.C. waters, they had to get creative in developing their garden and decided to place custom boxes under the farm site’s float house. It was a nice central location that would allow them to experiment with growing lettuce, carrots, radishes and tomatoes.

“The biggest benefit has been to see increase in morale as the guys work as a team recreationally,” said Bruce Banta, Raza Island Farm Manager. “They take as much pride working with the garden as they do growing the fish. As a manager, it’s cool to see.”

The small garden was such a success that this year they have plans to expand it and add potatoes, beans and peas. It provided them with fresh vegetables they could use in the kitchen, as well as a quick snack as they were walking by. Knowing that they can grow vegetables as well as they can grow fish, they are pushing the envelope this year to see what else they are capable of growing on their farm.