The Department of Fisheries and Oceans has placed a temporary ban on harvesting oysters, mussels, clams and quahogs in a large area of eastern P.E.I., just as officials promote Island seafood to a number of Alberta chefs, buyers and restaurant owners.

'Calgary [has] very high-end people, rich outfits, people that can afford a lot of this food' —P.E.I’.s Fisheries Minister Ron MacKinley

The closure was recommended by Environment Canada because of fears of contamination after recent heavy rains.

There are concerns runoff from adjacent land could contaminate shellfish and pose a health hazard to humans.

All waters within three kilometres of the eastern P.E.I coastline from Hillsborough Bay to Dalvay are closed to shellfishing.

That includes Pownal Bay, Murray Harbour, Cardigan Bay, St. Peter's Bay, Savage Harbour and Tracadie Bay. All of the Hillsborough River is also closed to harvesting.

Far away from the coastline P.E.I.’s Fisheries Minister Ron MacKinley and chef Ted Grant from the Culinary Institute of Canada are touring Alberta promoting Island seafood.

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The Department of Fisheries and Oceans has placed a temporary ban on harvesting oysters (Ted Warren/Associated Press)

 

On Monday night, they hosted an event in Calgary where those attending had a chance to sample P.E.I. lobster and other shellfish prepared the "Island way".

MacKinley said there is great potential to boost P.E.I seafood markets in the west.

"If you are going to be selling today, you have got to go out where the market is and Calgary [has] very high-end people, rich outfits, people that can afford a lot of this food. They don't stop working out here. Seven days a week they are either eating, working, or partying," MacKinley.

The two will head to Edmonton on the next part of their P.E.I. seafood promotion.