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Land-based oyster hatchery planned for Nova Scotia

May 27, 2022  By  Nestor Arellano

The federal government of Nova Scotia is investing CAD$2 million (US$1.5 million) to rebuild the oyster industry in the province’s Bras d’Or Lake.  The initiative involves addressing the spread of parasites that devastate oyster stock and the construction of a land-based hatchery that will provide oyster seed.

The government’s support for the Verschuren Centre for Sustainability in Energy and the Environment in Sydney was announced May 27 by Fisheries and Aquaculture Minister Steve Craig and Mike Kelloway, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, and Member of Parliament for Cape Breton-Canso.

The centre will develop a land-based oyster hatchery to prepare breeding stock and provide healthy larvae to Bras d’Or Lake oyster growers. The facility will have a lab which will decontaminate equipment and water to prevent the spread of Multinucleate Sphere Unknown X disease (MSX), which has sidelined the industry on the Bras d’Or Lake for the past 15 years.


The support comes from the $400-million Atlantic Fisheries Fund, jointly funded by the federal and provincial governments, which focuses on increasing opportunities and market value for sustainably sourced, high-quality fish and seafood products from Atlantic Canada.

  • the Atlantic Fisheries Fund will invest more than $400 million over seven years to support Canada’s fish and seafood sector
  • the federal government will provide 70 per cent of the funding, with 30 per cent coming from the Atlantic provinces
  • the fund aims to help Canada’s seafood sector transition to meet growing market demands for products that are high quality, value-added and sustainably sourced
  • eligible projects must focus on innovation, infrastructure or science partnerships

“This investment is a positive step to re-establishing a strong local oyster industry in Cape Breton. It will help our seafood industry remain sustainable and provide top-quality seafood products to the world. We are excited to join with our federal and industry partners in these important investments,” said Craig.

Now in its fifth of seven years, the program is open to applications from the commercial fisheries and aquaculture industry, Indigenous groups, academia, and industry associations and organizations, including research institutions.

Previously, the area saw about 80 percent of oyster landings in Nova Scotia and was a contributor to the local economy.

“The work happening at the Verschuren Centre is key to the rebirth of a once thriving oyster industry in the Bras d’Or Lake, and a welcome infusion of high-quality oyster into Nova Scotia’s fish and seafood sector,” said Joyce MurrayMinister of FisheriesOceans and the Canadian Coast Guard.


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