The Pacific Oyster (Crassostrea gigas (Thunberg)) is the species most widely farmed in British Columbia. Its meat has a mild, sweet flavour and a firm texture.
The Pacific Oyster originated in Japan; several oysters were brought to BC around 1913, but most of the seed was imported from Japan between 1930 and World War II. The Pacific Oyster established itself in several areas, including Ladysmith and Pendrell Sound. In 1950, Pendrell Sound was set aside as a reserve to protect breeding Pacific Oyster stocks. Today, Pendrell Sound and Pipestem Inlet are still widely used by growers to collect oyster seed (spat).
The native Olympia Oyster (Ostrea lurida), British Columbia’s only native oyster, was nearly wiped out a century ago. Until the late 1800s, Olympia Oysters supported sustenance and commercial fisheries and occupied thousands of acres of productive, diverse habitat. Olympia Oysters were listed as a species of special concern in 2003 and are blue-listed by the Province of British Columbia. Our native Olympia Oyster is a smaller, slower-growing oyster than the Pacific Oyster and it is not suited for farming, except for a limited specialty market.