Shellfish Hatchery Feasibility Study
It is with great pleasure that the Centre for Shellfish Research is releasing a preliminary discussion draft of the Shared Hatchery Feasibility Study for general consultation, discussion and input. This is a follow-up to the general consultation meeting that was held with stakeholders earlier this year. This project has been supported by the BC Ministry of Agriculture and Lands and the Centre for Shellfish Research is grateful for their support in funding to look for options as to how the British Columbia shellfish farming industry can create solutions to what has become a crisis in seed supply.
This draft discussion document of preliminary findings has been released to obtain further feedback and consultation on this issue. Please note that it is a DRAFT and may be subject to significant revision and addition as this study completes. Please forward comments to Brian Kingzett at the Centre for Shellfish Research.
The Centre for Shellfish Research is looking to encourage discussion and receive feedback on our discussion draft of the Feasibility of a Shared Shellfish Hatchery for the BC Shellfish Aquaculture Industry funded by the BC Ministry of Agriculture and Lands.
This draft document is the follow-up to the discussion workshop that we had on February 29th, 2008 where we had a well attended session with input from shellfish stakeholders.
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The report is extensive but we encourage you to read it. The preliminary findings support the original premise that if a significant stand alone hatchery that produced all species was economically feasible at current market prices for seed, then there would be a viable hatchery in operation. A new BC stand alone hatchery is only economically feasible if funding for capital costs (for building construction and equipment) and purchase/ lease of a suitable site can be obtained from other sources. Given the economic potential of shellfish aquaculture for revitalizing coastal economies and First Nations communities, a strategic investment by governments should be considered.
The Centre for Shellfish Research (CSR) at Malaspina University-College is in the process of developing an experimental Field Station in Deep Bay (Baynes Sound). Use of the lower building area of the Deep Bay Site to assist in offsetting industry hatchery needs in the long or short term may be the highest and best use of this site for supporting industry development. While the mandate of the CSR is broad, there is no plan or interest by the CSR to engage in commercial hatchery production operating by the Centre for Shellfish Research or Vancouver Island University.
A review of the potential for co-locating a commercial hatchery with the Centre for Shellfish - Deep Bay Field Station was conducted and found many advantages to this approach. A major advantage is the potential increased comfort level for government to invest in a university based joint venture. However, we are also looking for feedback and suggestions for other alternatives.
Conditions imposed by government for financial support for a new shellfish hatchery may be the determining factor. The Centre for Shellfish Research has opened an encouraging dialogue with Fisheries and Oceans Canada for their possible support in this regard through the Aquaculture Innovation Fund.
Vancouver Island University is recommending that if co-locating with the Deep Bay Field Station is pursued, that that VIU/CSR with industry seek public funds to construct a hatchery building and then lease this facility to a private operator who would then equip it to their own specifications.
Further to this we are recommending a transparent process where a joint VIU/Industry/Government committee issue a Request for Proposals that sets out terms and conditions for a joint venture hatchery with government financial support with the aims of filling the identified seed shortage needs of the BC industry and made generally available for response. In this manner any of a number of business models that have been discussed in this document may be used as a template by respondents without limitation.
We are looking for feedback on all aspects of this document. We would prefer these in writing but we are also available to respond to requests for further discussion.
Specifically we would like to responses to the following questions:
- Do you believe that a new hatchery is required in British Columbia? (Yes/No and your thoughts)
- If required would you (as a shellfish farmer) be prepared to pay premiums for locally produced seed (Yes/No and if so why and if yes, under what conditions and how much of a premium would you entertain?)
- If a hatchery cannot be possible by being all things to all people in order to be successful what should the priorities be?
- Should a discussion of exploring the Deep Bay Field Station as a possible venue for this continue? (Yes/No and your thoughts, and possible alternatives)
- Should government agencies with roles in supporting industry development be encouraged to support the development of increased hatchery capacity in British Columbia? (Yes/No and your thoughts)
- Do you believe the concept of issuing a request for proposals (RFP) should be used to identify a private industry partner to lease and operate a facility hosted by the Centre for Shellfish Research?
Without clear guidance on these questions the CSR will not be able to reach final conclusions on our study or continue to attempt to facilitate industry development (survival?) by stabilizing shellfish seed supplies.
Click to download document