» Developing and marketing a sustainable shellfish industry in Clayoqout Sound Ecotrust Canada
Roquefort. Champagne. Dijon. Cognac. These place names have become synonymous with culinary delicacies—cheese, wine, mustard and liqueur, respectively. One day, Pat Koreski hopes, Clayoquot will be added to this distinguished list of gastronomic and geographic names.

“Oysters, like wines, vary according to their locality and most type names are really place names,” Koreski explains. “Clayoquot deepwater oysters tend to be clean, mild and sweet—free of silt or taste of the substrate.”

As president of the Clayoquot Sound Oyster Growers Association, Koreski has worked with Ecotrust Canada and the Nuu-chah-nulth Shellfish Development Corporation (NSDC) to strengthen the local shellfish industry. There are currently 12 non-native and two First Nation oyster farms in Clayoquot Sound that produce about 50,000 gallons of shucked oysters each year.

Clayoquot Sound’s pristine water and rich nutrients produce a premiere oyster that is second-to-none. Through the Working Sound Shellfish Committee, Ecotrust Canada partnered with local growers to put in place a voluntary “no-discharge” zone in Lemmens Inlet, where the oysters are suspended on underwater longlines. Clean water and a pristine environment are critical to produce quality shellfish.

Besides providing business loans to shellfish growers in Clayoqout Sound, Ecotrust Canada has worked with growers on a strategy to process and brand shellfish locally. The idea is to create a socially and environmentally responsible brand known for exquisite taste and quality. Clayoquot Sound could become a cornucopia of locally branded shellfish including oysters, scallops, mussels, goose barnacles and clams.

“We need to create a brand with a logo, name, colour scheme and imagery that is descriptive and emotive,” says Brenda Kuecks with Ecotrust Canada in Tofino. “The brand needs to say ‘eat this oyster and experience the West Coast lifestyle.’”