Ontario Aquaculture Research Centre

Staff using a hand-held scanner to find a radio-frequency identification (RFID) tag in a mature rainbow trout

The Ontario Aquaculture Research Centre (OARC) in Alma is a state-of-the-art aquaculture research and development facility that enhances the province’s capacity for research, innovation, and the development of new technology to benefit Ontario’s commercial fish farming industry. The facility is owned by the Agricultural Research Institute of Ontario and managed by U of G through the Ontario Agri-Food Innovation Alliance.

The OARC provides scalable systems for aquaculture researchers and is the backbone of the University’s Fish Production Research Program.

The centre consists of administration and support facilities, two dry labs and four wet labs containing more than 365 fish-rearing units that allow for fish production and research, from eggs to broodstock, under differing environmental conditions.

The mission of the centre is to contribute to the economic and environmental sustainability of the aquaculture industry by integrating research and extension activities.

Research areas and outcomes

See current research at the Ontario Aquaculture Research Centre.

Research centre impact webinar

Screen shot of the YouTube video recording of the impact webinar


Hear from Dr. David Huyben, Department of Animal Biosciences at U of G, and RJ Taylor, co-owner of Cedar Crest Trout Farms and managing director of the Ontario Aquaculture Assocation, about how the research centre supports the aquaculture sector (YouTube).

Primary areas of research at the centre are breeding and genetics, culture methodology, fish health, welfare and behaviour, nutrition, growth and reproductive physiology, and waste management.

The centre offers:

  • Quarantine facilities for the controlled importation of exotic species or strains of fish
  • Recirculation facilities to facilitate research under different temperature regimes
  • Facilities for pilot testing and scalable research
  • A venue for education and training programs at the graduate, undergraduate, college and high-school levels
  • Space for training, equipment demonstrations and technical transfer to the private sector

The quarantine unit has successfully introduced Atlantic salmon, Arctic char and new strains of spring-spawning rainbow trout to the Ontario aquaculture industry.

We have experience culturing the following species:

  • Salmonids (Rainbow trout, Arctic char, Atlantic salmon, coho salmon and Lake whitefish)
  • Lake sturgeon
  • Tilapia

Explore the Ontario Aquaculture Research Centre

Large outdoor tanks made from fiberglass and poured concrete used for breeding

Take a tour

See many of the bits and pieces required to operate a land-based aquaculture facility.

Large outdoor tanks made from fiberglass and poured concrete used for breeding

Current research

Since 1993, more than 200 research studies involving rainbow trout, Atlantic salmon, Arctic char, lake sturgeon, lake whitefish and Nile tilapia have been conducted.

Large outdoor tanks made from fiberglass and poured concrete used for breeding


Learn about aquaculture and aquaponics via an online course primer, virtual workshop (coming soon) or in-person workshop.

Contact us

Manager: Marcia Chiasson
Ontario Aquaculture Research Centre
6957 Eighth Line West, RR1
Elora, Ontario, N0B 1S0

Manager Marcia Chiasson