BC Seafood Expo

Leaders from across the BC seafood and aquaculture sector come together to discuss industry expansion.

Research and Information on Agrifood Production

Regional agrifood stats and resources to understand and plan for agrifood investment.

Media Coverage on BC Seafood Sector

Read the latest news and information on this important economic generator.

Shellfish Aquaculture

Investment Profile – Shellfish Aquaculture Producers and Industry Services

Opportunity: The Comox Valley produces the most oysters in Canada, and the most shellfish in British Columbia, and is home to the BC Shellfish Growers Association head office. Investor opportunities in the local shellfish industry range from purchases of smaller scale operating farms, to capital investment in growing corporations to develop seed nurseries, produce new species, processing and supplying inputs throughout this value chain.

Current Situation: In 2016, the BC shellfish industry produced 9,300 tonnes of shellfish with a wholesale value of $53.3 million. Over 50% of BC’s cultured shellfish is produced in Baynes Sound, in the southern part of the Comox Valley. Demand for shellfish from the clean waters of British Columbia is increasing rapidly; local producers cannot keep up with this demand. The primary products, at this point, are clams and oysters although there are emerging opportunities to produce other species such as geoducks, sea cucumbers and urchins, among others. The industry is working with all levels of government to facilitate expansion. The following table shows the growth in volume and sales in the BC production of cultured shellfish from 2014 to 2016.

Harvest (‘000 tonnes)

Farmgate Value (millions)








Cultured Shellfish







Source: http://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/industry/agriculture-seafood/statistics/industry-and-sector-profiles

Investment Opportunities:  There is a wide range of opportunities to invest and participate in the growth of the local shellfish aquaculture industry:

  • Purchase an existing shellfish farming operation. There are a number of productive operating forage properties for sale as long-term producers want to retire.
  • Purchase and upgrade smaller scale or underutilized tenures.
  • Purchase an established and integrated farm and processing operation.
  • Apply for tenure and develop a start-up farm which could include the potential to add new species in the future.
  • Invest capital in existing shellfish production and processing companies or partner and or joint venture with existing shellfish businesses.
  • Develop a seed nursery to provide oyster and clam seed to the industry.
  • Develop new input supplies. The industry is changing quite rapidly, trying to increase production to meet demand, trying to meet the market demand during harvesting closures (generally after heavy rainstorms), reduce grow out times, etc. This is a potential opportunity for existing local businesses to add new products for the sector or as an opportunity for outside investment to research and develop technologies that will benefit the industry.

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