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ALBERTON- P.E.I. Fisheries Minister Robert Henderson said the province’s oyster fishery enjoys a good international reputation, one that allows for market growth.
“The markets are there, but the markets are not all there in October,” he said.
To that end, improved storage capacity is one of the objectives of a new Quality Oyster Aquaculture Program announced Monday in Alberton.
The funding, $700,000 from the federal government and $95,000 from the provincial government, was awarded to CBDC West Prince Ventures Ltd. to implement year two of the program.
Maxine Rennie, executive director of CBDC West Prince Ventures, said over 100 growers applied in 2017-18 and, of those who qualified, 25 received assistance through a public draw.
CBDC West Prince Ventures announced the new round of funding through the P.E.I. Aquaculture Alliance newsletter on Friday and, even before Monday’s announcement, Rennie said some completed applications for assistance have already been returned.
Projects that received funding last year are not eligible to apply for the 2018-19 program.
The funding, said Egmont MP Bobby Morrissey, allows for projects that promote quality control and innovative technology.
Eligible expenditures include seed collection, nursery operations, bags and cages for grow-out operations and on-lease holding equipment.
The application deadline is Dec. 21.
CBDC board chairman Kevin MacLeod called the funding announcement “a great initiative to support our growers and allow them to expand and modernize their operations to meet the growing demand of their marketplace.”
While the bulk of the growth in Prince Edward Island’s oyster aquaculture industry has occurred in western P.E.I., Morrissey said the funding is in support of the industry Islandwide.
The MP said the oyster industry and the fishery in general are a big part of his federal riding of Egmont.
“The fishery has paid big dividends to this part of Prince Edward Island,” he said. “Anytime government can support that, it is an important day, an important step.”
Henderson said the P.E.I. oyster, which was judged best in the world at a world fair in Paris almost a century ago, has been part of the Prince Edward Island seafood industry since 1865.
“For oyster growers in P.E.I., new technologies offer extended potential to build on their reputation for excellence,” he said.
Morrissey said Prince Edward Island’s reputation in the oyster industry extends beyond the product itself, pointing out local manufacturers are also exporting oyster growing equipment.