Funding for B.C.’s oyster farmers helping sector keep shucking
June 5, 2019
More than 100 oyster farmers from British Columbia’s coastal communities replenished their stocks through the B.C. government and the BC Shellfish Growers Association’s (BCSGA) efforts to help ensure B.C. oysters are available this summer and beyond.
“Living in B.C. means proximity to the ocean, delicious fresh shellfish, and a whole range of innovative and amazing chefs and recipes,” said Lana Popham, Minister of Agriculture. “A visit to the B.C. Seafood Festival is a fun and tasty way to connect with sustainably produced and harvested food from our waters, and discover more ideas and motivation to #BuyBC shellfish and seafood year-round.”
Farmers each received up to $10,000 from the B.C. Oyster Recovery Fund to restock their beds with oyster seed. Restocking supports ongoing oyster production, as well as employment and economic activity in oyster farming communities. The fund provided a total of $860,000 in oyster seed support.
“There are endless ways to enjoy oysters grown by B.C.’s farmers. Whether served fresh or prepared by renowned chefs, B.C. oysters are sure to please,” said Darlene Winterburn, executive director of the BC Shellfish Growers Association. “Join us at the B.C. Seafood Festival and BCSGA gala dinner to eat, share and enjoy the best shellfish available anywhere.”
About one-third of the farms that received support through the fund are in Baynes Sound, with others near Cortes Island, Okeover Inlet, Lemmens Inlet, Barkley Sound and Nanoose Bay.
“The Oyster Recovery Fund was seen as a positive step and concrete action toward recognizing the value of the shellfish industry by Minister Popham and the B.C. government,” said Erin Latham of K’awat’si Shellfish. “As a new shellfish farm and as a new business of the Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw First Nation, K’awat’si Shellfish is also developing a research program, as well as improving transportation to get our GwiGwi oysters to the local B.C. seafood market.”
The B.C. Oyster Recovery Fund was announced in June 2018 to provide short-term relief funds to oyster growers to buy oyster seed and support production continuity. The fund covered 75% of the cost of oyster seed purchased after Jan. 1, 2018, to a maximum of $10,000 per licence holder.
- B.C.’s farmed oyster harvest totalled 7,700 tonnes in 2017 and accounted for more than one-third of the provincial shellfish harvest.
- Oyster sales in B.C. generated $29 million in wholesale value in 2017 and represented about half of the shellfish aquaculture industry’s value.
BC Shellfish Growers Association: http://bcsga.ca/
B.C. Seafood Festival in Comox, June 7-16: https://bcseafoodfestival.com/
June 2018 news release announcing fund: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2018AGRI0040-001198