Figuring out how to repair their reputation after a summer of bacteria concerns is a top priority for oyster farmers at a two-day workshop in Courtenay.
Roberta Stevenson with the BC Shellfish Growers Association says oyster farmers are spending the time preparing as though next summer could be just as hot as the last.
“That’s the prediction and we’re starting right now on looking at ways to mitigate this. Whether it’s warming ocean water, we have a lot of new realities and we need to learn to live within these new parameters and make sure our products are safe.”
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency issued a recall of raw oysters in August over concerns of vibrio due to the warmer than normal waters, something Stevenson says might have been overboard.
“Of course we don’t think that was necessarily fair.”
“Shellfish has to be processed at a federally-licensed facility. There has to be five tests per shipment to make sure vibrio is not present in the animal. We’re not defending ourselves, but we’re confident we can show clean track records as far as our testing.”