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Libyan Newswire

Hatching Big Plans for the Oyster’s Comeback in Cape Breton

Government of Canada Supports Cape Breton Oyster Business

April 2, 2015 – South Harbour, NS – Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

From the waters of northern Cape Breton to the fine dining establishments of downtown Toronto, Aspy Bay Oysters are making a big splash in the national oyster market. Dunphy Oysters, producers of Aspy Bay Oysters, began in 1985 as a small family business harvesting mollusks. Since then it has developed to include an oyster farm where owners Alex and Susan Dunphy grow their own juvenile oysters from seed in tanks within an upwelling wharf system. Now, thanks to a $30,000 repayable contribution received through ACOA’s Business Development Program, Dunphy Oysters Ltd. will expand to include a land-based hatchery.

The controlled environment of the hatchery will allow the producers to create conditions for oysters to spawn in April, four months ahead of Mother Nature’s schedule. Once spawning has taken place in May, the seed will be transferred to the upwelling nursery system until mid-summer then on to the company’s South Harbour grow-out site until they are ready for harvest. The new system is expected to produce hearty oysters with a higher survival rate in two years or less versus the six year growth cycle of wild oysters.      

Quick Facts:

  • Aspy Bay is located on the northern tip of Cape Breton Island and surrounded by a 270 degree view of the lush Cape Breton Highlands mountain range.
  • The Aspy Bay Valley contains three rivers (North, Middle and South Aspy River) flowing into three harbours (North, Middle and South Harbour) mostly blocked from the ocean by over 10 miles of white sandy beach.
  • Canadian aquaculture oyster sales generated $23.5M in revenues in 2013. The aquaculture industry in Nova Scotia was worth $54M in 2013, with oyster farming accounting for $1.5M of that total.
  • An upwelling wharf system consist of sea-based cages that allow displaced surface waters to be  replaced by cold, nutrient-rich water that “wells up” from below.


“To continue to maximize our economic success, we need smart, forward-thinking companies like Dunphy Oysters who know that innovation leading to new or expanded markets is key to business growth. This investment will enable them to harvest a better product, faster—and that’s a recipe for success in any industry.”

     - Senator Michael L. MacDonald, on behalf of the Honourable Rob Moore, Minister of State (Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency)

“Each day Dunphy Oysters strives to become more productive and competitive by adapting technology and building the management and technical skills we need to innovate, grow and compete in Canada’s oyster market.”

     - Alex Dunphy, Co-owner, Dunphy Oysters – producers of Aspy Bay Oysters

Associated Links:


Kelsie Corey
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of State
Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

D.A. Landry
Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

Alex & Susan Dunphy
Owners, Dunphy Oysters