The government of Canada and the Province of Nova Scotia are investing over CAD$2 million to help the Verschuren Centre with the development of a land-based oyster hatchery. Once open, the hatchery will prepare broodstock and provide healthy seeds, followed by facility decontamination of equipment and water, which prevents the spread of MSX, an oyster parasite, between oyster aquaculture sites.
Funding this project addresses two of the main priorities for oyster growers in Nova Scotia for the past 15 years: finding a way to address concerns and the spread of MSX and a lack of oyster seed. The lab-based process established at the center will reduce parasite prevalence and intensity in MSX infected oysters resulting in almost zero mortality. For oyster producers in Cape Breton, on the Bras d’Or Lake, this work is especially welcome as the oyster industry in that area has been devastated by the MSX parasite – at one time Bras d’Or Lake accounted for approximately 80% of oyster landings in Nova Scotia. Healthy, parasite-free oyster larvae from the center will allow the once rich oyster industry on the Bras d’Or Lakes to rebuild and return much-needed economic stability to the local community.