Unit F – 2002 Comox Ave., Comox, BC V9M 3M6 250.890.7561

For Immediate Release

April 7, 2017
VICTORIA – The B.C. government is partnering with the BC Shellfish Growers Association
(BCSGA), Vancouver Island University and the Hakai Institute to address issues of food supply
security and climate change affecting the shellfish industry.

The partnership will include efforts to boost the local production of high quality and disease
resistant oyster seed, expand climate change monitoring capacity and to develop a business
case outlining priority areas for investment and action in the future. The OASISS (Ocean
Acidification Shellfish Industry Seed Supply) project was developed to achieve these goals.

The B.C. government is providing $200,000 to initiate OASISS and to support the sector’s
capacity building efforts. The OASISS project funding includes:

  • Vancouver Island University receiving $50,000 to expand its oyster seed production
    capacity within the Deep Bay Marine Station (DBMS). This infrastructure will be used to
    support a selective breeding program targeting the development of brood stock with
    improved resistance to disease and environmental changes. The DBMS will supply
    producers with seed that is better adapted to local growing conditions.
  • The BCSGA receiving $75,000 for new equipment for ocean monitoring and to continue
    to work with the Hakai Institute to develop baseline data to better understand the local
    impacts of climate change.

The BCSGA will also receive an additional $75,000 to work with their members to develop a
business case and plan for further investments in food safety improvements, research to better
understand foodborne illness in shellfish, business risk management strategies, and economic
development opportunities.

The $200,000 in immediate support parallels the B.C. government?s ongoing efforts to
negotiate with the Government of Canada to make the seafood and shellfish industry eligible
for federally-provincially funded programs that support long-term strategic investments in
areas, such as food safety, business development, capacity building, innovation, and research.

The current federal-provincial program, Growing Forward 2, committed an estimated $427
million to support the B.C. agrifoods sector from 2013 to 2018.

B.C.’s shellfish aquaculture industry currently produces 11,000 million tonnes a year with a
wholesale value of $57 million.

Minister of Agriculture Norm Letnick
B.C.’s shellfish growers offer excellent products that support economic growth and jobs in
communities up and down our coast, and the B.C. government is standing with them and
providing support to help that continue for the long-term. The funding and partnership we
share with VIU and B.C.’s shellfish growers will help everyone learn more about the impacts of
climate change on B.C. shellfish, ensure we are doing the very most for food safety, and playing
a greater role in the local production of seed stock. These actions, and a targeted business plan
will ensure B.C.’s shellfish industry can continue to invest in their production and meet growing
market demands for the great tasting shellfish produced in B.C.
Darlene Winterburn, Executive Director, BC Shellfish Growers Association
Support from the Ministry of Agriculture and our partners in this research, Vancouver Island
University and the Hakai Institute, will help industry improve capacity, increase self-sufficiency
and learn more about the environment in which we farm. Shellfish farming presents a unique
opportunity to fill the growing gap between food supply and worldwide demand in an
ecologically sustainable way.

Daniela Fischer Russell, Associate Dean, Faculty of Science and Technology, Vancouver Island
VIU is honoured to engage in this strategic partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture and
the BC Shellfish Growers Association. This collaboration will foster the economic development
of the shellfish industry in our region including First Nations communities; decrease B.C.?s
reliance on foreign oyster seed and increase food security through the development of hardier
brood stock with enhanced disease resistance. This funding will support VIU’s capacity in
applied teaching and research. We look forward to expanding our contribution to this
important sector of the B.C. economy.?

Fast Facts:

  • B.C.’s farmed shellfish harvest increased close to seven per cent in 2015 to 11,000
  • The wholesale value of farmed shellfish rose over 13% in 2015 to $57.2 million.
  • In 2015, B.C. produced more than $40 million of farmed oysters, almost $11 million of
    farmed clams, and $5.5 million of mussels and other shellfish.


Ministry of Agriculture
Connect with the Province of B.C. at: www.gov.bc.ca/connect
Government Communications and Public Engagement, Ministry of Agriculture
250 356-1674

Darlene Winterburn
Executive Director
BC Shellfish Growers Association
250 890-7561

Daniela Fischer Russell
Associate Dean Faculty of Science
Technology Vancouver Island University
250 740-6113

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