The École des Pêches et de l’Aquaculture du Québec
On the Grande-Rivière campus is the École des pêches et de l’aquaculture du Québec (ÉPAQ) – a community partner of the Ocean Wise Seafood program!
The ÉPAQ is one of the training centres of the Cégep de la Gaspésie et des Îles. It is one of five national schools in Quebec and one of the only institutions that offers fishing and aquaculture training in French and English, in Quebec – right on the ocean!
This is where the college program in Aquaculture Techniques is offered, which covers fish farming and shellfish farming. The program emphasizes sustainable practices and the school’s fish farming facilities are certified by the Canadian Animal Welfare Office.
For the past three years, the program has also included a course on seaweed aquaculture, and is offered in the form of 4 thematic modules that are offered both in person or through remote learning:
- Module A: Freshwater Fish Farming
- Module B: Rearing of Molluscs in Suspension
- Module C: Business Management and Optimization of Production Systems
- Module D: Production of Marine Juveniles in Research and Development
The school is in very close contact with industrialists in the fisheries and aquaculture sector (its representatives sit on Boards of Directors, professional associations, etc.) and founded the only newspaper dedicated to industry news is published: Journal Pêche Impact newspaper.
« It essentially includes the views of the fisheries and aquaculture industry. It is the link between industry members, policy makers and government departments. It is through this ticket that they exchange,” explains Éric Tamigneaux of the ÉPAQ.
With their knowledge of the industry and their practical expertise, several of the teachers specialized in aquaculture, including Éric Tamigneaux, collaborate closely in the development of projects with Merinov, with the title of industrial researchers.
« This ensures that innovations are quickly incorporated into student training. It is often the teachers who produce the technical manuals for industrialists. One of the teachers is himself the owner of a mussel and oyster growing company. »
Applied research and development
“By drawing on the diversity of expertise of Quebec’s network at the college centre for technology transfer (CCTT), called SYNCHRONEX, we offer technical and scientific support services to industrialists who wish to engage in this type of work.
Each teacher in the technical programs has their own specialty and develop a know-how in their field that can be very interesting for companies.
The administrative and financial management of the CCTT of fisheries is entrusted to Merinov, but remains under the responsibility of the Cégep de la Gaspésie et des Îles. Thanks to this bridge between the school and Merinov, there are project managers from Merinov who teach in fishing and aquaculture courses at the CEGEP and, conversely, there are teachers who are involved in projects at Merinov. »
How can consumers contribute to the development of the industry?
“There’s a movement that we haven’t seen before…
In the past, we expected the government to make decisions and policies to guide industry practices. But now, we are seeing empowered consumers encouraging each other to make specific purchasing choices.
And if the movement becomes large enough, and people select their purchases based on certain criteria, it sends a strong signal to producers to review their practices.
And especially around offshore fisheries, it is particularly important because there is no agency that manages fisheries effectively enough in international waters. At least – none who have the authority and power to enforce the regulations, despite the good intentions that exist.
Sometimes, the best way to start driving change is from the bottom-up rather than the top-down. »
Why partner with Ocean Wise Seafood?
“Anything that can be positive and constructive, and can illustrate the positive side of the industry, is important visibility for the sector and for our work. We see a lot of documentaries that go on the web and often, when we talk about aquaculture, there is an emphasis on the negative side.
Partnering with Ocean Wise Seafood is a way to showcase the positive effects of fishing and aquaculture in a scientific way, without going through the sensational. »
Want to start a career in aquaculture?! The time is NOW to start a program at the École des Pêche et de l’Aquaculture du Québec or take a look at career opportunities at Merinov.
Photo credit: Merinov.