You know the saying – “you are what you eat” – well, scallops, clams and oysters are filter feeders, which means they pump water through their bodies and filter out whatever particles are present. These bivalve (two-shelled) shellfish grow on the natural food items found in ocean water, such as algae and plankton. These nutrients are rich in Omega-3 essential oils, which become concentrated in the meat of the shellfish, making them a very healthy food choice for consumers. Omega-3s improve human health by counteracting a variety of ailments, including heart disease, cancer and arthritis.
Since bivalve shellfish filter out whatever particles are present in the water, they are unable to avoid any pollutants that may exist in some ocean waters, such as human sewage, agricultural run-off, or even red tide organisms. Scallops, and other bivalves are often consumed raw, so it is critically important that the shellfish are growing in clean waters which are safe from pollutants at all times. Coastal Shellfish’s farms are located in the pristine water in the Great Bear Rainforest; one of Mother Nature’s treasures.
BC’s north coast is an ideal natural environment for shellfish farming. The ocean is cold and pure, with an abundance of nutrients. Coastal Shellfish’s scallop farms are isolated from population centers, agriculture and industrial development. No roads can be built nearby because of the mountainous terrain, and very few people live here. The remoteness of the area means that the farm sites can only be accessed by boat or floatplane, but this is a small price to pay for the guarantee of safe shellfish.
Scallops are grown in their natural environment in layered lantern nets, suspended on longlines that are submerged below the ocean’s surface and anchored securely to the bottom. Every lantern net with its quantity and size of scallops is exactly identified by its position on a specific long line at each farm site. Scallop inventory is updated on a daily basis since new seed is added continuously, scallops are sorted and graded and stock is harvested for sales. Regular monitoring of the scallops enables Coastal Shellfish to keep track of growth and survival and project harvest volumes.
Water quality at the farms is monitored constantly. Independent lab tests are conducted weekly to ensure that the Great Bear Scallops are always safe from bacteria and red tide. After a two-year production cycle, the market-size scallops are ready for harvesting, and given a final grading and cleaning before they are iced and transported to the nearby processing plant.