Aquaculture: Nova Scotia shellfish farmers work to serve up the best
Posted on September 02, 2022 | By Ashley Fitzpatrick | 0 Comments
It’s just after sunrise and you’re driving on the coastal road through Guysborough County, Nova Scotia, trees whipping by, a view of the water on one side, a periodic smattering of homes, cottages and small businesses catering to tourists on the other. Past the road out to Canso, you eventually come to a sharp curve along the main drag of Route 316. You haul off and continue, a little more slowly now, spotting a small, square sign off to the left. At the head of a gravel lane and painted with the logo of the Bill and Stanley Oyster Company, it points you through a line of evergreens, toward the water, to a silver, two-storey fish plant with wharf behind.
This is the edge of Whitehead Harbour and, at about 6:30 a.m., a two-man wet crew for one of Nova Scotia’s premiere aquaculture operations (the company is also present in Prince Edward Island) is readying to head out to the closest oyster farm.
Shellfish farming typically makes up less than 10 per cent of Nova Scotia aquaculture by value, down to less than five per cent in recent years (the majority of product being finfish, with some sea plants). But thanks to business-side efforts through the pandemic—new products, sales channels, improvements in logistics and external markets—there’s room for growth in shellfish. But what might limit it? It all led Atlantic Business Magazine to join this particular crew early on a summer morning (after a COVID test and all clear), hopping into the oyster boat and slipping out into a cottony fog.
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