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Investigation into the survival and spawning potential of the selected F1 oysters: Follow up to the Bras d'Or Lakes Oyster Breeding Program for MSX



Native American Oyster (Crassostrea virginica) populations in the Bras d’Or Lakes region of Nova Scotia have been in decline due to a combination of over-fishing, degradation of habitats and most recently, the appearance of the MSX parasite (Haplosporidium nelsoni) and the Malpeque disease. There is a need to rejuvenate the depleted private aquaculture leases and public oyster beds, however, the importation of oysters from outside the Bras d’Or Lakes is currently not permitted in order to protect the native oysters from exposure to these diseases. Aquaculture and commercial growers must then rely on resident populations for future culture and wild population enhancement activities. Recent research on this issue has initiated a selective breeding program designed to provide the necessary disease resistant/tolerant spat to rebuild the native population. This project will determine the spawning potential and survivorship of first generation (or F1) bred to be resistant/tolerant to MSX to support restoration efforts within the Bras d’Or Lakes and ultimately Atlantic Canada should the MSX parasite be discovered elsewhere. This project will allow Fisheries and Oceans Canada to protect this distinct oyster population, while supporting the sustainable growth of the oyster farming industry in Nova Scotia.

This project supports the optimal fish health management objective of the Aquaculture Collaborative Research and Development Program (ACRDP), pertaining to the 2013-14 national ACRDP priority to maintain healthy shellfish populations through the development of stocks resilient or resistant to diseases.

Program Name

Aquaculture Collaborative Research and Development Program (ACRDP)


2013 - 2014


Atlantic: Gulf of Maine, Scotian Shelf

Principal Investigator(s)

Bénédikte Vercaemer

Collaborative Partner(s)

Eskasoni Fish and Wildlife Commission

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