When the Coastal First Nations created land and marine use plans for the Great Bear Rainforest, shellfish aquaculture was identified as the top economic initiative for many of the coastal communities. A Shellfish Initiative began in 2003 in the north coast region, with biophysical surveys in the marine environment to identify the most suitable areas for shellfish aquaculture. Small-scale farms were then established in these locations to test different shellfish species, including mussels, oysters and scallops. The results of this seven-year research and development phase concluded that sea scallops were the shellfish most suited to the cold, clean waters of the Great Bear Rainforest.
Coastal Shellfish was created in 2011 to commercialize the Shellfish Initiative with a multi-million dollar investment from the Coastal First Nations and other partners. Together with a well-established scallop aquaculture company, Coastal Shellfish built a modern shellfish hatchery on BC’s north coast and began commercial trials with sea scallops. Coastal Shellfish’s head office was established in Prince Rupert, where the hatchery and seafood processing operations are located. A strong management team is in place with decades of experience in the aquaculture and seafood industry.
Under the direction of the Metlakatla Development Corporation, the majority shareholder of Coastal Shellfish, the team has been able to achieve the highly elusive biological proof of concept through the reliable and successful production of seed and adult scallops. The result has been four years of highly rated sales for small batches of farmed scallops and Oceanwise sustainability certification for Great Bear Scallops.
In the coming years, Coastal Shellfish is looking to repurpose a former commercial fishing production plant to begin large scale processing of the farmed scallops and growing our staff to meet the high demand for sustainable, quality seafood.
Come back and visit us for more news on future developments at Coastal Shellfish!