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Dr Amber Garber has received a high profile award for using the latest genetic techniques to selectively breed Atlantic salmon to grow faster and resist common pathogens.

Dr Amber Garber of the Huntsman Marine Science Centre has been awarded the R3 award by the New Brunswick Innovation Foundation for her Atlantic salmon selective breeding program. Her salmon broodstock are set to have a higher growth rate, increased sea lice resistance, and higher bacterial kidney disease (BKD) resistance, reducing the need for sea lice medicines, including hydrogen peroxide, as well as reducing the application of antibiotics for the treatment of BKD.

The R3 Gala recognizes and celebrates the innovations of three of the province's top applied researchers. With an audience of up to 600 people, the purpose of the event is to bring researchers and business people together and show them the opportunities they can bring to each other.

“We are producing elite broodstock that will eventually be used for production and will be more resistant to disease and sea lice,” said Dr Garber in a video interview. “Before the broodstock program started, fish were basically selected blindly out of cages. So what we did was to select fish from the cages and genotype the fish, and look for potential relatedness and then make our initial crosses to create a pedigreed broodstock program.”

“Salmon farming for Nova Scotia and New Brunswick means about $356 million yearly”, said Dr Garber. “That translates to around $300 million meals of Atlantic salmon, and also 3000 jobs.”