Island oyster company looks to double size with new lease and grading facility

The Raspberry Point Oyster Company is working on doubling its growing capacity, after buying a new lease in Oyster Bed Bridge.

Raspberry Point Oyster Company hopes to eventually grow 5 to 10 million oysters in Cymbria

The Raspberry Point Oyster Company has bought a new lease in Oyster Bed Bridge after demand for their oysters grew by 30 per cent last year. (Jean-Pierre Muller/AFP/Getty Images)

P.EI.'s Raspberry Point Oyster Company is working on doubling its growing capacity, after buying a new lease in Oyster Bed Bridge.

Manager James Power said demand for their oysters grew 30 per cent last year. It will be at least three years before any oysters are harvested from the new lease, he said, but eventually they hope to grow five to 10 million oysters there.

The 200-acre lease used to grow mussels, but they're slowly turning it over to oyster growing. The company currently has 70 acres in North Rustico and 200 acres in New London Bay.

Part of the plan includes building a two-storey, 6,000 square-foot oyster grading shed in Cymbria, P.E.I., on the Grand Pere Point Road. It will be almost identical to their facility in North Rustico.

Public meeting will be held

Power said they've had a few calls from concerned residents and will be holding a public meeting next Thursday. 

"I think people, rightly so, residents are probably concerned because they haven't seen anything and they don't know anything and rumours get going," he said.

"But I think once we explain what we're doing, I think that they're not going to be too wound up."

Environmental concerns

He said because they're going to be constructing a larger building, some residents have raised concerns about the impact that might have on the surrounding area and the environment. Power said the facility will use very little water and they have to build larger to accommodate their needs.

"Because the building size is double or triple what was there, I think people think there's going to be double or triple the aquaculture and that's not the case at all," he said.

"Because a lot of the mussel work is done outside and had their gear outside, we don't do that. We have our gear inside, so we need a bigger building."

With files from Laura Chapin