We are seeing very promising results for developing the native basket cockle (Clinocardium nuttallii) as a new species for aquaculture in BC. For several years now research teams at the CSR have worked on developing hatchery and now grow-out techniques.
Cockles in off-bottom tray culture on the Deep Bay Field Station Farm site.
More project details follow.
The native basket cockle, Clinocardium nuttallii, has a wide distribution on the Pacific coast of North America from San Diego to the Bering Sea, with a disjunctive population reported in Hokkaido, Japan. Although this species can be found around the coast of British Columbia (BC) on sandy to muddy shores, it is generally not present in great abundance. In BC there is significant commercial interest in basket cockles as an aquaculture species, as a result of their relatively fast growth rate, ability to utilize different substrata, adaptation to the cold waters of BC, and importance as a preferred First Nations’ food group. They represent an opportunity for diversification in the shellfish industry and to maximise lease productivity, with potential local and worldwide markets for fresh or value-added products.
Previously the Centre for Shellfish Research has conducted research on broodstock conditioning, embryogenesis as well as larval and post-larval development in the hatchery stages, including investigations of diet preferences, optimal rations, stocking densities and rearing temperatures. However there is little information available on optimal field on-growing conditions for this species. Currently research is being conducted on the on-growing stage of production, combining both laboratory and field experiments to examine post-settlement movement in different substrata, seed production optimization, culture operation (intertidal versus suspension), and the effects of stocking density and depth on growth performance and survival.
Currently there are two year classes of cockle seed transplanted at Deep Bay, from spawning events in 2008 and in 2009. On the intertidal lease at Deep Bay three size classes (1cm, 2cm, 3cm) at three densities (5, 10, 35 and 70% surface coverage) from the 2008 class have been deployed, along with three densities of 2009 generated animals (5, 10, 35 and 70% surface coverage). In addition, on the off-bottom culture lease site we are investigating the effects of size (1cm, 2cm, 3cm), density (5, 10, 35 and 70% surface coverage) and also depth (2m, 4m, 6m) on growth, survival, fouling and shell morphology. This research aims to provide valuable recommendations for the management and sustainable production of basket cockles, through the responsible development of a new native aquaculture species of cultural significance.
This project is funded by the Aquaculture Collaborative Research and Development Program (ACRDP) through the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (Project No. F1693-08-137) in collaboration with industrial partner Evening Cove Oysters Ltd.
For more information contact
Dr. Helen Gurney Smith
Head of Shellfish Health & Husbandry Program
Center for Shellfish Research,
Vancouver Island University
900 5th St, Nanaimo. BC V9R 5S5