Community Profile: Comox Valley, British Columbia (Oysters)

British Columbia’s Comox Valley is known as Canada’s Oyster Capital. Oysters from the region are coveted for their taste, which is enhanced by pristine ocean waters, nutrients flowing from mountain streams, and consistent sunlight. In 2013, more than 20 oyster producers in the area exported more than $12.6 million worth of oysters to 14 different countries. More than half of BC’s shellfish production in the Comox Valley is grown in Baynes Sound. The industry employs over 100 people, contributing significantly to the local economy. Baynes Sound is also home to Fanny Bay Oysters that processes 10 million oysters annually in its 20,000 square feet, state-of-the-art processing plant.

In January 2012, Fanny Bay Oysters received $63,000 through the former Aquaculture Innovation and Market Access Program (2008-2013) to adopt technology to crush large volumes of waste oyster shells in an efficient and cost-effective manner. The technology helps to reduce the overall volume of waste, producing particles of different sizes that can be utilized by a variety of potential markets for crushed oyster shell by-products.

"The funding means a lot to our company and the industry as it provides us with the seed money to look at ways and means to adopt technology for crushing shell, and provide jobs and increase value to our shellfish by marketing empty shells," said Fanny Bay Oysters general manager Brian Yip.