SAINT JOHN (GNB) – The provincial government’s bioscience sector strategy was released by Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries Minister Michael Olscamp during the 2012 New Brunswick Biosciences Achievement Award ceremony here today.

"The bioscience sector has the potential to reduce costs and increase yields in food production; solve environmental problems; assist with preventive health care; and create higher-value added uses of traditional resources or biomass materials including waste products," said Olscamp.

The event was held by BioAtlantech and its partners, which include Rx&D, the provincial government, the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency and the University of New Brunswick. It was part of a series of coast-to-coast celebrations honouring National Biotechnology Week.

"Biotechnology is a sector that weathered the recession relatively well, and growth has been steady in New Brunswick despite the downturn in 2008," said John Argall, executive director, BioAtlantech. "Mostly, this is because the sector is an adjunct to our core sectors."

Biosciences is one of six sectors identified in Growing Together – An Economic Development Action Plan for New Brunswick, which is designed to accelerate economic growth and create jobs in all regions of New Brunswick on the strengths of its human resource potential and traditional economic advantages. The other five sectors are information and communications technology; value-added food; aerospace and defence; value-added wood; and industrial fabrication.

Olscamp noted that bioscience companies are important employers throughout New Brunswick, engaging 55 companies with a payroll of $9.3 million. Export sales in biosciences totalled 166 million between 2008 and 2011.

The provincial government is partnering with BioAtlantech and the University of New Brunswick, Saint John campus, to celebrate National Biotechnology Week. BioAtlantech is New Brunswick's lead agency for the biosciences.