Aquaculture in Prince Edward Island has been very
successful in raising mussels, oysters, salmon, and
trout. These successes are inspiring research into the
cultivation of shellfish, such as sea scallops, quahog,
soft-shelled clams, and bar clams, as well as finfish,
such as char, flounder, striped bass, haddock, and
halibut. The Ellerslie Fisheries Station, owned by the
Western Development Corporation, the University of Prince
Edward Islands Atlantic Veterinary College and
Atlantic Fish Health Inc., offer a wealth of expertise,
research and training. Numerous private sector parties
such as Aqua Health Ltd., Wright Systems and Equipment,
Charlottetown Metal Products, fibreglass companies, and
aluminum shops, have also provided technological research
and development support to this growing industry.
Lacking information about successful harvest techniques,
the pioneers of the aquaculture industry were forced to
use their own ingenuity in devising their mussel growing
experiments. They eventually developed the method used
popularly today, involving mesh stockings or
socks that are filled with spat (or mussel
seed) which are attached to ropes at 3 feet
intervals and connected to buoys. The socks remain
suspended for 12 to 14 months until they are harvested.
At this time, each sock would yield from 30 to 50 pounds
of mussels. Technological innovations have enabled winter
harvesting of mussels. This has proven to be an important
innovation because in winter, the market demand and
mussel quality are both at their peak.
Today, the mussel industry
represents the provinces second most important
fishery, producing close to 9000 imperial tons per year,
with an export value of $20 million and employing more
than 650 full-time and part-time workers. Approximately
70 percent of cultured mussel production comes from farms
along the east end of the Island, where estuaries tend to
be drowned river valleys. The remaining 30 percent is
produced along the Islands north side in barrier
Prince Edward Island oysters, the most famous of which is
the Malpeque oyster (named for the bay in which it is so
abundant), are exported to central Canada and around the
world. Though the cultivation of oysters is a relatively
new economic activity, Prince Edward Island fishers have
been engaged in the oyster fishery for over 150 years.
Presently, there are approximately 5,000 acres leased for
oyster cultivation in the province and the oyster culture
industry is expanding apace with the development of new
techniques and technologies.
Finfish aquaculture is still in its early stages as an
industry on the Island. Finfish hatcheries are currently
active in producing eggs, fry, and fingerlings in
salmonid species, for Arctic char, and for rainbow trout.
These hatcheries are located primarily in eastern Prince
Edward Island, Souris and Murray River, with one in North
Wiltshire. Two of these hatcheries are also processors of
Arctic char and rainbow trout.
Lobster | Shellfish | Finfish | Specialty Markets