By Andy Walker
Major players in the world shellfish industry are now gathered in the PEI capital for the 8th International Conference on Molluscan Shellfish Safety.
The sessions, being held at UPEI until June 17, will tackle such issues as marine biotoxins and contaminants; harmful algal blooms; microbiological issues; regulatory frameworks and trade and the effects of climate change.
"The Government of Canada is proud to support this conference as the shellfish industry is key to our economy and to our coastal communities," said Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz. "It's one example of the ways we work with industry to find ways to help them continue to deliver the safe, high quality product that they are known for."
Keynote speakers during the conference are Dr. Karunasagar Iddya with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and Dr. Wang Wei with General Administration of Quality, Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine of China.
"Using science to advance procedures for testing shellfish is invaluable for the shellfish industry," said Prince Edward Island Fisheries, Aquaculture and Rural Development Minister Neil LeClair. "Drawing on the knowledge of the leading scientific experts in this field will benefit the industry and rural PEI as a leading shellfish producer in Canada."
Canada has a very productive molluscan shellfish industry, with a value of approximately $240 million annually. The Prince Edward Island shellfish industry, which produces mussels, oysters, clams, quahaugs and scallops, has a value in excess of $32 million and employs more than 2500 people.