The Cooke family of companies have always worked to improve operations and the quality of our products. Innovation is part of who we are, intrinsic to our east coast mentality and the values of everybody who works with us.
We marry east coast ingenuity with innovative processes made possible by our global scale to ensure our products are the freshest, the most sustainable and ecologically sound, and of the highest possible quality and value.
Our relentless pursuit of knowledge and better ways of doing everything we do is what allows us to deliver against all our promises.
“From the beginning we knew we had to keep our company cutting edge. We needed to be world leaders in what we did because we were competing against world class companies.” – Glenn Cooke
Responsible Growth and Constant Improvement Through Research Partnerships.
Since 2014, Cooke has been working with and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) and Dalhousie University as part of the most significant industry-university-government partnership for aquaculture in Canada.
The Industrial Research Chair (IRC) in Sustainable Aquaculture, under the direction of Dr. Jon Grant, continues to conduct ecosystem-based collaborative research. This work is valuable in determining the future of aquaculture close to home but it is also being applied around the world.
Protecting the environmental integrity of our marine resource is a top priority at Cooke Aquaculture. We know that growing our company while continuing to respect and protect our farming areas requires significant investment and innovation. This is the foundation of our relationship with the IRC at Dalhousie.
Our partnership has allowed Dr. Grant to continue his aquaculture-based studies while doubling the number of student researchers he works with. He and his team are focused on important simulation modelling and field studies. Cooke’s resources such as vessels, farm sites and more, have been integral to the research.
The team has been working to address many industry-specific topics, including coastal ecosystems, biosecurity and cage and mooring design. Further areas of study will focus on preserving environmental integrity through waste management plans, and other predictive management regimes.
Traceability & Breeding
Offspring Traceability & Selective Breeding: Salmon & Chips
Researchers have developed the Offspring 50K Chip, a genetic road map for Atlantic salmon in North America, and it’s a major breakthrough for Cooke Aquaculture’s selective breeding of farmed Atlantic salmon.
By mimicking nature, Cooke spawns mature fish in captivity in a freshwater environment then rears those fish from eggs to the smolt stage. In nature, salmon smolts swim out to sea to eat and grow. In farming, the smolts are transported in tanks from freshwater hatcheries to farm sites in the ocean.
The parental fish – known as the broodstock – are chosen from thousands of candidates based on their predicted ability to transmit traits such as good growth rates, flesh quality and disease/parasite resistance to their offspring.
The Offspring 50K Chip has the potential to revolutionize this broodstock program while adhering to the company’s standards for quality, environmental performance and the underlying philosophy of following nature’s lead. It will allow Cooke Aquaculture to compete globally and offer a better product to consumers.
Raising animals in the natural environment poses various challenges and starting the process with broodstock that are selected specifically to meet those challenges will lead to improvements in the final product and in the farming process.
Feed and Nutrition
New Feeding System
Cooke has been making significant investments into new feeding systems for its farms in Atlantic Canada, Maine and in Scotland.
Feeding fish is a critical part of the operations, and having state of the art equipment helps ensure the fish are fed properly and steadily while also eliminating any feed waste.
There are currently 9 new Steinsvik feeding systems deployed in operations around the world with another 12 scheduled for delivery in 2017 and 2018. The Steinsvik systems were built in Poland incorporating our specifications into the final design and construction.
Large feed deliveries, and efficient storage and distribution to the fish mean less fuel used, lower delivery costs, and a reduction in our overall carbon footprint. Coupled with a modern state of the art work environment for our people, this is a win-win for all.
We are seeing improvements in feeding and growth as we are feeding at consistent times and have a consistent process across all of our Steinsvik feed systems, regardless of weather or sea conditions.
Feeding is even more efficient thanks to technology such as High Definition cameras and sensors that ensure that we are monitoring feed and the fish more precisely. This, in turn provides the company with reduced feed conversion ratios
Cooke Aquaculture, our feed division and our feed suppliers employ teams of professionals in fish nutrition, feed manufacture, fish feeding behaviour, fish health management, farm management and information technology that oversee every aspect of feed supply and delivery. All of our finfish are reared using feeds that are manufactured in compliance with the highest standards for animal feed safety. Our commitment to sustainably sourced feed ingredients, ongoing improvements to our feed formulations and innovations in feed delivery allow us to produce healthy fish with a net gain in fish protein.
Warm Water Sea Lice Removal System
Sea lice, a naturally occurring parasite of wild Atlantic salmon, are prevalent in most areas where Atlantic salmon are farmed. Although hatchery-raised salmon are transferred to marine sites free from sea lice, they may be exposed during grow-out.
Traditional methods of sea lice removal rely on a small number of registered therapeutants. However, through repeated use, some of these terapeautants can show reduced effectiveness. And the process for developing and registering new therapeutants is long, complicated, expensive, and often raises environmental concerns.
With funding from ACOA’s Atlantic Innovation Fund (AIF) and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) Aquaculture Collaborative Research and Development Program, our in-house science and engineering team has developed a novel device and process that uses warm water to remove sea lice from salmon in a manner that achieves a 95% removal rate.
The device and process are environmentally and economically attractive, and will be used to complement existing treatment methods such as well boats, three bay managements systems, and other environmentally-sound management practices.
The Cunner and Lumpfish are fish species that are being raised as a cleaner fish component of Cooke Aquaculture Inc.’s Integrated Pest Management Program. Cleaner fish, which eat sea lice, are stocked with Atlantic salmon to minimize the impact of sea lice on farmed salmon.
Research to develop and optimize hatchery techniques and protocols for spawning and rearing of Cunners and Lumpfish is being conducted at the Huntsman Marine Science Centre in St. Andrews, NB, and at the Ocean Science Centre in St. John’s, NL. The goal is to eliminate the need for wild-caught broodstock as well as individuals for stocking in marine production sites.