Oyster fishery replaced by aquaculture in New Brunswick

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The oyster fishery replaced by aquaculture in New Brunswick

Oysters grown in L'Aldouane, New Brunswick.

In several eastern regions of New Brunswick, it is the beginning of the oyster fishery.

Unlike other fisheries, such as lobster or crab, the oyster fishing has been supplanted by another way of harvesting these molluscs: by farming them.

At Aldouane, maybe 10, 12 years ago, there were perhaps fifteen-twenty fishermen. Now, if you see three or four, that's pretty much the max, explains Serge Gaudet, owner of Oyster Aquador.

Serge Gaudet has seen the evolution of oyster farming for several years in New Brunswick.

For Serge Gaudet, unlike the few fishermen who will go to the Saint-Charles River, on the east coast of New Brunswick, the date of the start of the fishing season does not has been a day like any other for several years.

Oysters, this former fisherman now cultivates them.

It was as a teenager, by chance of a summer job, that he discovered oyster farming. We developed a passion for the field, and then I've been in the industry for over 32 years, explains Serge Gaudet.

He fishes young oysters for then put them in large pockets, tied to each other with rope. No need to feed them, just sort them out at various stages of their life, he says.

A few years later, they can be harvested.

We can manage enough volume in an efficient, more mechanized way. Cultured oysters can be put on the market after 4 to 5 years, while a bottom oyster can take 6 to 12 years, explains the entrepreneur.

This is also a main advantage of oyster culture according to Rémi Sonier, section head for aquaculture and coastal ecosystems at Fisheries and Oceans.

One of the primary advantages of oyster farming compared to traditional fishing on the stick is above all the time it takes, says the specialist.

Rémi Sonier, Section Head for Aquaculture and Coastal Ecosystems at Fisheries and Oceans, says he is optimistic about the future of the industry.

Mr. Sonier adds that aquaculture also protects the oyster from its natural predators, including starfish and sea snails. Suspending the mollusk also keeps them away from bottom sediments. water and place them in a layer of food-rich water.

One ​​of the ideas that comes with farming oysters is really to remove the parameters that you don't want to have if possible, says Sonier.

For Serge Gaudet, oyster farming is more profitable than fishing. Firstly because of the beauty of cultivated molluscs, since consumers turn their noses up at oysters that are imperfect.

View larger< p class="sc-v64krj-0 knjbxw">The oyster ponds of Huitre Aquador, Aldouane, New Brunswick.

Then, says the former fisherman, traditional fishing became more complex. In order to avoid overfishing and the collapse of the industry, any oyster caught that is less than 76 millimeters must be released, and the quantities caught are limited.

At Fisheries and Oceans, we are quite optimistic about the future of the industry, despite climate change affecting several sectors of the fishing industry.

“We are lucky to have a very resilient oyster that has remarkable adaptability. »

— Rémi Sonier, Section Head for Aquaculture and Coastal Ecosystems at Fisheries and Oceans

Cultivated oysters can adapt to changes in sea temperature. water and ocean water acidification. […] We are optimistic with a precautionary principle. We see a bright future for our oyster, but we are always on the lookout for changes or bad weather that could happen to us, believes Rémi Sonier.

Oyster Aquador sells some 2 million oysters a year, according to Serge Gaudet. 30 million occur annually in New Brunswick. Only 10% of the oysters harvested in the province come from fishing.

According to the report by Frédéric Cammarano, with information from Téléjournal Acadia

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