Oyster farmers in British Columbia can now access a million-dollar fund that will support this year’s oyster stock re-seeding efforts.
The BC Oyster Recovery Fund supports stability within the province’s oyster aquaculture sector, and ensures oyster farmers continue to add to their local economies in communities up and down the province’s coastlines.
“Oyster growers in our province work hard to support their families in coastal communities,” said Lana Popham, Minister of Agriculture. “Right now, they need our help, and the BC Oyster Recovery Fund will provide key supports for the sector to address the recent challenges they have faced, and will increase consumer confidence in our amazing oysters.”
The Ministry of Agriculture is providing $1.3 million in support that will:
- assist the industry in efforts to re-seed its oyster stock this season.
- support a marine norovirus pilot research survey that will monitor the travel patterns of pathogens through Baynes Sound.
- initiate research for the potential development of an early warning system for pathogen transfer.
Oysters are one of the seafood items being profiled at the BC Seafood Festival, June 8-17, 2018, in the Comox region. The festival is an annual 10-day long celebration of local seafood that brings people from all over the province, and around the world, to taste the diverse and delicious seafood that B.C. has to offer.
Darlene Winterburn, executive director, BC Shellfish Growers Association –
“We are grateful for the assistance provided by the Ministry of Agriculture to help farmers recover from the impacts of environmental issues beyond their control. This emergency funding will go a long way to build confidence and to provide stability for our farmers. The research will benefit everyone who lives on B.C.'s coasts. I would like to thank the minister and her staff for their quick actions to provide assistance, and for their continued support of the shellfish farming industry.”
Richard Harry, executive director, Aboriginal Aquaculture Association –
“The Aboriginal Aquaculture Association is supportive of the B.C. government’s BC Oyster Recovery Fund initiative, which will help alleviate some of the financial challenges caused by these water-quality events. The funding will help oyster farmers with their businesses, while keeping employees and suppliers going. The association believes that improving waste-water management in the Gulf and Baynes Sound should be the greater goal in mitigating the impact of the current and future norovirus events to the shellfish industry.”
Ian Tostenson, president and CEO, BC Restaurant & Food Services Association –
“We are so pleased the B.C. government is investing in our world-class, sustainable oyster industry. This will help future industry growth and, of course, helps to ensure a consistent and quality supply to our restaurant industry that loves to serve homegrown products. This is a welcomed proactive investment.”
Paul Nursey, president and CEO, Tourism Victoria –
“Victoria’s culinary tourism scene is broad and diverse, and B.C. seafood is an integral part of it. We have close ties to our coastal shellfish producers, and Tourism Victoria welcomes the funding announcement today and the strong support for the B.C. oyster sector.”
- B.C.’s farmed shellfish harvest totalled 9,300 tonnes in 2016, and made up 40% of the provincial shellfish harvest.
- Oyster sales in B.C. represent more than half of the shellfish aquaculture industry’s value, and generate $30 million in wholesale value.
Application details and criteria for the BC Oyster Recovery Fund are available at: https://www.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/industry/agriculture-seafood/programs/bc-oyster-recovery-fund
BC Shellfish Growers Association: http://bcsga.ca/
Aboriginal Aquaculture Association: http://www.aboriginalaquaculture.com/
2016 B.C. seafood industry snapshot: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/farming-natural-resources-and-industry/agriculture-and-seafood/statistics/industry-and-sector-profiles/sector-snapshots/bc_seafood_sector_snapshot_2016.pdf
BC Seafood Festival: https://bcseafoodfestival.com/
Dave TownsendGovernment Communications and Public Engagement
Ministry of Agriculture
250 889-5945 (cell)