The cool, nutrient-rich coastal waters of British Columbia’s vast coastline (over 27,000 km) provide the ideal location to grow some of the highest-quality shellfish found on menus around the world. As this map shows, shellfish farms are located primarily around the west coast of Vancouver Island and in the Georgia Basin. Historically, the most prolific areas for shellfish farming have been Baynes Sound, Cortes Island and Okeover Inlet.
Site selection for a shellfish farm is a process that can take up to three years because of the complexity of regulations and site management requirements. Many things are taken into account, including water requirements, such as water depth, current flow, proximity of other (local) resource users, salinity, water temperature and oxygen content. Other considerations are proximity to sources of pollution, local forms of fish in the habitat, the potential for algae growth in shallow water locations and accessibility to a transportation infrastructure that does not contribute to environmental intrusion or damage.
British Columbia shellfish farmers rely on a healthy environment and have been considered stewards of the ocean for over 100 years.