Town Point Oysters
Applying Sustainability to Shellfish Farming
Town Point Consulting Inc., operating as Town Point Oysters (TPO), is a family-owned business interested in establishing an oyster farm near the mouth of Antigonish Harbour. To date, we have been successful in securing an "Option to Lease" which permits the collection of information including data from proposed sites and feedback from the public.
We submitted an application for leases on selected sites in January 2020. If approved, we hope to start operating in 2021. This operation will be a community-based family business focused on engaging a small portion (2.05%) of Antigonish Harbour in an environmentally sustainable, eco-friendly manner to generate economic activity, provide jobs, and produce a high-quality healthy food source for the local market and beyond.
Town Point Oysters will produce high-quality environmentally sustainable oysters and oyster seed through eco-friendly practices and innovation.
Our vision is to produce outstanding oysters in a sustainable and responsible manner while contributing to the well-being of our community, the harbour, and our planet.
We, the applicants, acknowledge that we do not hold advanced degrees in Marine Biology. It is not our role to defend the scientific facts supporting the benign/positive effects of oyster farming on estuaries. This is the role of government scientists and other relevant agencies, by whom the application will be vetted. However, we have made every effort to educate ourselves about the ecological effects of growing oysters. We have found and cited several scholarly papers and articles on the subject within this website. Our search of relevant information has further deepened our conviction that this endeavor to grow oysters in Antigonish Harbour will be ecologically beneficial or at worst benign. We encourage all interested to search scientific literature objectively, and only then, form an opinion based on science and facts.
The proposed farm would necessitate an additional 8-10 employees. Creating new job growth in the Antigonish economy.
A single oyster is capable of filtering anywhere from 25-50 gallons of water per day. The proposed farm size will filter approximately 60 million gallons of water per day.
The proposed farm will contribute significantly to the annual economic activity within Antigonish County. Wages, taxes, purchases, etc. all benefit the local economy.
Oysters permanently remove carbon dioxide from the environment. Through carbon sequestering, oysters help to combat climate change.
TPO will be using new and innovative technology to increase sustainability and decrease the visual profile of our farm. Unlike commonly used off-bottom oyster farm gear, our units are cylindrical and float at the water's surface emerging only a few inches. The units are black in color and curved in shape so they will tend to blend in rather than stand out. This innovative technology drastically decreases the visual profile of the farm.
TPO has also designed a new type of oyster nursery. Our nursery is an upwelling, land-based system that relies on two electric water pumps to flow water through the silos containing oyster seed. Oysters are filter feeders, the oyster seed filter incoming seawater thereby removing suspended solids and that cleaner water flows back to the harbour. This is a flow-through system, the same amount of water that enters the system is returned back to the harbour completely untreated other than the filtering from the oysters.
We’re excited to have teamed up with scientists and students from the StFX Aquatic Resources Discipline, Paqtnkek First Nation and ShanDaph Oyster farm to jointly conduct comprehensive scientific studies of areas in Antigonish Harbour, Pomquet Harbour and Merigomish Harbour related to the environmental impacts of suspended oyster aquaculture. These studies will examine effects on eelgrass, the benthic environment, and water quality as well as the comparative productivity, environmental impact and product quality between the BOBR growth system and the growth system prevalent in the industry. This study is unique in that it has the opportunity to examine the baseline conditions within our proposed lease sites pre-farm with a view of doing multi-year follow-up studies to determine actual environmental impacts should our proposed farm be approved.
Shedding light on the effects of oyster farming
"On the eastern coast of Canada, eelgrass is a habitat for many fish, providing them shelter and good feeding and rearing grounds. Scientists at Fisheries and Oceans Canada discovered that oyster aquaculture can contribute to the overall health and productivity of eelgrass on a larger bay scale, and now they’re investigating why. Learn about the science behind this interesting study."
Video and description by Fisheries and Oceans Canada
How Oyster Farms Clean Up Water Quality
"A new Water Quality Trading Program allows organizations to buy and sell nutrient credits to help clean up the bay. This means organizations who discharge nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus can trade credits with Orchard Point, whose oysters help remove nutrients. This financial incentive helps clean up the water quality of the Chesapeake Bay, and encourages the growth of oyster aquaculture."
Video and description by Maryland Farm & Harvest