BC CAHS has been in operation since 2005, and throughout its growth has focused on building capacity, developing a client base, forming networks of collaborators and establishing itself in the market. This period provided BC CAHS with excellent exposure locally, nationally and internationally, and its services are highly regarded by its stakeholders. BC CAHS has worked closely with the salmon farming industry of BC, the predominant species cultured in the Canadian aquaculture sector, and has provided a range of services including research and development, laboratory and professional skills, and training programs. In addition, the BC CAHS is developing partnerships with fledgling industries working to develop alternative species for aquaculture such as sablefish, shrimp and other shellfish, in addition to developing alternative rearing methods such as closed containment and integrated multi-trophic aquaculture. BC CAHS also provides services to both provincial (BCMAL, BCMOE) and federal (DFO, CFIA) government agencies and academic institutions (North Island College (NIC), University of British Columbia (UBC), Vancouver Island University (VIU) and Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre (BMSC)). BC CAHS has partnered on research projects with many of these institutions.
In August 2008, BC CAHS was relocated, primarily due to its growth and consequent need for expansion. The new facility has offices and analytical laboratories, totalling more than 5,500 ft2, including a meeting room that can hold up to 15 people.
The main analytical laboratory is equipped with a broad spectrum of specialized instruments allowing for a wide range of biochemical, molecular, and microscopic analysis. The equipment includes thermocyclers, real-time quantitative PCR machines, microplate readers, pH meters, scales, homogenizers, freezers, centrifuges, incubators, microscopes, digital imaging equipment, and gel electrophoresis apparatus. The main analytical laboratory has bench space to accommodate approximately 6-8 researchers. There is also an isolated “clean room” for DNA/RNA related work, and a post-mortem examination laboratory. The facility has twice the laboratory space as the original location.