The Ministry of Agriculture today announced an agreement with Vancouver Island University to research the Mazzaella japonica harvest for the 2014 season. Mazzaella japonica was inadvertently introduced to B.C. waters in the early 1900’s.
The Ministry of Agriculture has offered limited harvest licenses as part of a pilot project in the Deep Bay and Bowser area for the past several years. From the beginning, the project has taken a precautionary harvest approach, based on an adaptive management model that includes a process of ongoing monitoring and improvement. Existing scientific knowledge supports an annual beach-cast seaweed harvest, and the research program announced today will further enhance that knowledge base.
The Vancouver Island University research study will provide scientific information to further inform the strict procedures that are already in place through the adaptive management model. Specifically, the study will include an ongoing monitoring program during the harvest season and scientific evaluations of beach-cast Mazzaella japonica and other associated aquatic plant species on selected beaches between Deep Bay and Buccaneer Beach.
The Ministry of Agriculture has issued three licences for the 2014 season and each holder will be able to harvest a maximum of 300 tonnes, helping to ensure an environmentally sustainable approach to harvesting, while supporting small business and local jobs. Mazzaella japonica is rich in carrageenan that is found in many products including processed foods (ice cream), cosmetics (toothpaste) and pharmaceuticals.
The Vancouver Island University research team will provide a final report to the Ministry of Agriculture by March 25, 2015.
July 2014 Information Bulletin providing details of harvest licences for upcoming season: http://www.newsroom.gov.bc.ca/2014/07/mazzaella-japonica-harvest-licences-issued-for-2014-season.html
Detailed information on beach-cast seaweed harvesting: http://www.al.gov.bc.ca/fisheries/commercial/cabinet/Beach-cast%20Seaweed.pdf
Government Communications and Public Engagement
Ministry of Agriculture
250 889-5945 (cell)