New Brunswick

Oyster grower invents 'the Flipper'

An oyster grower in Bouctouche has developed a machine to mitigate some of the labour of flipping oyster cages.

An oyster grower in Bouctouche has developed a machine to mitigate some of the labour of flipping oyster cages.

Donald Jaillet is testing a new prototype called "the Flipper" this week.

Over the last four months Jaillet developed a barge equipped with a robotic device that flips an oyster cage from side to side, preventing algae build-up.

Oyster cages need to be flipped to help the oysters grow, but previously it was a much more labour intensive job.

"Now it takes two people, before it used to take three ...The machine has a lot more strength than we do," Jaillet said.

It's still a long process. Jaillet said he has to flip 1,300 cages, each weighing over 75 pounds, eight times a year

He said the prototype will help him expand his business.

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans has been a partner in the project.

"There's a lot of growers that are watching this and they want to see if it's going to work before they invest in the same type of equipment. This has never been done, it didn't exist anywhere in the world," said Florence Albert, with the department.

The Flipper was tested in the water for the first time earlier this week.