Because Oak Bay Marine Group was started by the fisherman, and because sport fishing has been an important part of our business offerings, we have always tried to treat our oceans along with the wildlife they contain with care. “It continues to be a little while since most humans lived as hunter-gatherers – with one important exception. Fish are the last wild animal that we hunt in thousands. And yet, we may|we might function as last generation to do so…. On average, people eat four times|4 times|4x} the maximum amount of fish now than they did in 1950.” (Gaia Vince, BBC.) When Oak Bay Marine Group was started by Bob Wright there were about 3 billion people (1) on this planet; today you can find above 7 billion. (2) How can we help ensure you can find fish for all?
Hunting and gathering have transformed into farming and ranching, yet fish remain largely harvested by fishing. While we expect our beef, pork and tomatoes to come from farms, we expect the fish we eat to beplucked from wild, fresh, icy waters and are|and therefore areundecided about quality, freshness and sustainability when we hear otherwise. Living on theWest Coast, with open net pen fish farms in our backyards, we have been well aware of the concerns with fish farming inside the Pacific Ocean. But imagine if these common problems were eliminated or reduced to anacceptable level? What if the farming was really beneficial to the surroundings?
Environmentally beneficial farming has been standard for a long time with mussels, oysters, and clams. These shellfish “clean the water, remove nitrogen, accelerate denitrification, enhance water clarity, promote eelgrass survival, and still provide excellent habitat for any several juvenile fish and crustaceans.” (3) And farming shellfish is something we do well around the West Coast. At the Marina Restaurant our mussels come from Salt Spring Island, our clams from the Discovery Islands, and our oysters come from little farms down and up Vancouver Island, from Ladysmith to Fanny Bay, and in the market to other islands like Cortes.
But fin fish are admittedly diverse from mussels, and require a different approach. Because trout are freshwater they are an all-natural fit for raising inland in contained systems – this has become proven viable and sustainable for years. Lois Lake is often a man-made lake and Steelhead happen to be raised there since 1973. The colour from the fish’s flesh comes naturally from their non-antibiotic, hormone-free feed. Waste water is UV treated and plays a role in the surrounding wetlands, and escapement risk is non-existent because of the contained system. Trout are also efficient at converting feed into protein.
At the Marina Restaurant we are known for our seafood, so we try to be leaders in keeping seafood stocks with a healthy and sustainable level. Some studies suggest that salmon recently become the highest consumed fish globally, surpassing shrimp and accounting for 1/5th coming from all seafood consumed. (4) With a growing population and a growing demand for seafood we’re trying to find solutions. What if most (or all) the salmon we bought in the store or ordered at our favorite restaurant was farmed, however in a responsible way? What if that salmon also took less energy to produce than sirloin steak and was better for both you along with the environment?
We are excited about the evolution in sustainable seafood farming, mainly because it has positive implications for the living creatures individuals oceans. Kuterra salmon is the first simply land-based salmon farm in BC, and provides a viable option for sustainable salmon farming. Atlantic salmon is the|may be the species raised by Kuterra because it will be the|could be the most resilient species with this type of farming – it grows essentially the most efficiently, is less aggressive than other salmon species and it is less vulnerable to disease. These salmon are raised without hormones, pesticides or antibiotics. Because the salmon are inland with recirculating water tanks there isn’t any risk of harm to other marine wildlife with out risk of escapement. Water is recycled very efficiently at 98% and waste is composted as an alternative to discharged back into the environment. In addition to using 30% less feed than their ocean counterparts, Kuterra salmon will also be raised mainly on grain and soy. And most importantly the product tastes great!
The revolution in seafood farming is near and dear to our hearts at the Marina Restaurant. We are thrilled being|to get 100% Ocean Wise certified, and we look forward to continuing our efforts towards sustainability while creating delicious meals and memorable occasions for your customers.