Vancouver Island University research looks to boost B.C. seafood industry

Vancouver Island University research looks to boost B.C. seafood industry

Vancouver Island University’s Deep Bay Marine Field Station is set to become a hub of culinary experimentation and new product research.

“It’s really exciting,” said station manager Carl Butterworth. “We did a feasibility study of the BC seafood shellfish sector and what we found was the industry really felt that there hadn’t been a lot of significant innovation for the last 50 years, that it was still very much business as usual and that there was definitely room for innovation in the seafood sector.”

The goal is an expanded seafood sector in BC, perhaps with new products and better systems to get them to market, both internationally and locally.

“We have access to a very privileged array of products that we should be eating more and so we hope this centre gets more British Columbians eating seafood with a bit more understanding about how to prepare it, what are the different dishes and at the same time get more jobs within this industry and really bring this industry up,” added Butterworth.

The research will be done by students and those in the industry.

“As climate change and things like that affect our world, we need sources of sustainable food,” said Daniel Roth, a shellfish hatchery support worker at the Field Station. “I’m definitely excited to play a big part in the research of that.”

The Ministry of Agriculture says there are more than 100 species of wild and farmed fish, shellfish and marine plants harvested commercially in BC and the small kitchen at the station will play a large part in the research.

“We’ll have this set up with audio-visual equipment so that we can bring in a chef or a food scientist or a product expert from pretty much anywhere on the planet,” said Butterworth.

In 2016, seafood companies in the province produced a total of 506 different seafood commodities.

Dean StoltzDean Stoltz

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