North Saanich trout ranch project is on hold

A planned trout ranch in North Saanich is officially off, following the death in January of one of the partners in the project

A planned trout ranch in North Saanich is officially off, following the death in January of one of the partners in the project.

DarMar Foods Ltd., with its head office in Victoria, had proposed two years ago to build a closed containment, land-based trout farm in North Saanich. Their plan was to use new technology in the field of fish farming to raise 35,000 trout each year for the grocery and restaurant industries.

Mark Sutin, a partner in the venture, told the News Review that his partner Darwin Gunderson died in January, effectively halting the project. Gunderson, as outlined on DarMar’s website, was the foundation of the business which was based on his prototype recirculation aquaculture system.

“I was introduced to Darwin by a mutual friend and it took a while to learn about his (prototype) and how to apply modern computer technology to it,” said Sutin. “My own role would have been to make the technology better.”

Fish farms in B.C. is a serious issue, one that Sutin said he and Gunderson had hoped to address and improve its image in the province.

“I would have to find someone, another partner, who knows the industry and has the knowledge to make this idea work,” Sutin added. “But I haven’t found that person yet.”

While he said he’s open to reviving the trout farm concept, he is looking for other opportunities in the meantime, effectively putting the North Saanich fish farm on permanent hiatus.