SUNSHINE COAST, B.C. – The $1.3 billion B.C. Oyster Recovery Fund is giving more opportunities to oyster farmers along the province’s coastal communities.

Announced in June 2018, it supports the industry’s stability through oyster re-seeding efforts. The funding will also support a marine norovirus pilot research survey, which will monitor pathogens’ travel patterns through Baynes Sound, as well as start off research for the potential development of an early warning system for pathogen transfer.

Since June, 59 applications submitted by B.C. oyster farmers have been approved. A total of $516,913 in funding has been processed.

“B.C. oyster farmers are resilient people who are working hard to bring stability back to the province’s oyster industry,” said Lana Popham, Minister of Agriculture. “Through support from the B.C. Oyster Recovery Fund, the people who work in this growing sector are rising above the challenges they faced last season, ensuring B.C. will be able to offer high quality, great tasting oysters to British Columbians and global markets.”

Popham is on a two-day oyster farm tour to meet local oyster farmers and discuss the progress of their recovery efforts. The tour’s first stop is at Stellar Bay Shellfish in Bowser, then Sawmill Bay Shellfish on Quadra Island, with a final stop at Little Wing Oysters in the Okeover Inlet on the northern Sunshine Coast.

B.C. harvested a total of 9, 300 tonnes of farmed shellfish in 2016, and made up 40% of the provincial shellfish harvest. Oyster sales in B.C. generate $30 million in wholesale value.