Opportunities to Innovate for Oyster Growers in PEI

News release

Quality Oyster Aquaculture Program aims to increase value and production

December 10, 2018 – Alberton, PE – Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

Shellfish is a significant and well-recognized component of PEI’s vibrant food industry. For oyster growers in PEI, new technology offers potential to build on their reputation for quality, and compete in export markets. That’s why the governments of Canada and Prince Edward Island are supporting programming at West Prince Ventures Ltd that gives businesses in rural PEI better access to innovative, modernized equipment and processes.

West Prince Ventures is implementing the Quality Oyster Aquaculture Program (QOAP) for 2018/19, providing an incentive for oyster aquaculture operations to expand production through the adoption of technologies used to produce cultivated oysters on private leases.

Bobby Morrissey, Member of Parliament for Egmont, on behalf of the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), and the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, along with the Honourable Robert Henderson, Prince Edward Island Minister of Fisheries and Agriculture, today made the announcement.

ACOA, through its Business Development Program, is providing a non-repayable contribution of $350,000. Fisheries and Oceans Canada, along with the province of PEI, will cost-share a non-repayable contribution of $350,000 through the Atlantic Fisheries Fund (AFF). The provincial government will also add a grant of $95,000 through the PEI Department of Agriculture and Fisheries.

The AFF is a contribution program funded jointly by the federal and provincial governments to help generate opportunities and increase the market value for sustainably sourced, high-quality fish and seafood products from Atlantic Canada.

This investment builds on commitments made by the Government of Canada and the four Atlantic Provinces to drive economic growth in the region through the Atlantic Growth Strategy, which supports strategic investments in initiatives that build on the region’s competitive advantages, such as its thriving food industry, strong export potential, growing innovation network and skilled workforce.


“West Prince Ventures has been an essential support organization for small businesses in Western PEI, including those that seek to build on and grow our primary industries. This program is a valuable tool for oyster growers in PEI, helping them to sustainably produce more of this excellent Island product, and compete on a larger scale. The Government of Canada understands the value of investing in rural communities and innovative food practices.”

  • Bobby Morrissey, Member of Parliament for Egmont

“Our government is committed to working with our partners to make Canada’s fish and seafood sector more innovative, productive and sustainable. The world is demanding sustainably sourced, high quality seafood products and the Atlantic Fisheries Fund will drive innovation in this sector, helping Canada meet these demands. This will boost the economy and increase employment opportunities for middle-class Canadians in small coastal and Indigenous communities.”

  • The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard

“For oyster growers in PEI, new technologies offer potential to sustainably develop and grow the oyster sector, which contributes to the continued success of our rural communities. The Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, in partnership with the Federal Government, is pleased to provide an incentive for oyster aquaculture operations to expand holding capability and sustainably grow production through innovative technologies.”

  • The Honourable Robert Henderson, Prince Edward Island Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries

“West Prince Ventures Limited is proud to be delivering the Quality Oyster Aquaculture Program (QOAP). Our mandate is to support business development and expansion for economic growth in rural regions of PEI. The QOAP is a great initiative to support our oyster industry in producing a quality product for the marketplace.”

  • Maxine Rennie, Executive Director, West Prince Ventures, Ltd.

Quick facts

  • The QOAP will support the expansion of off-bottom suspended aquaculture, as well as improvements in quality and productivity of bottom-cultured oyster production.

  • West Prince Ventures Limited was incorporated in 1981 as a non-profit, community development organization. Its mandate is to provide loans, loan guarantees, equity financing, business counseling and training to small businesses in western Prince Edward Island.

  • West Prince Ventures Limited is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors, with representation from communities across Western PEI.

  • PEI is the largest oyster-producing province in Atlantic Canada, and the second largest in Canada. The industry is comprised of both a public fishery and aquaculture, with many participants working in both sectors.

  • The export opportunity for oysters continues to grow. Ninety per cent of all oysters grown on Prince Edward Island are sold off-Island, and approximately 60 per cent of that number are sold to the United States.


Jana Parker Smith
Communications Manager
Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

Jessica Bruce
Senior Communications Officer
Department of Agriculture and Fisheries

Maxine Rennie
Executive Director
West Prince Ventures, Ltd.

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