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sector_ico_Environment_trans Environment

Development of a Health Assessment Tool for Marine Mussels (Myt-OME)

  • Project Leaders: Helen Gurney-Smith, Stewart Johnson
  • Institutions: Vancouver Island University (VIU)
  • Budget: $406992
  • Program/Competition: Science Opportunities Fund
  • Genome Centre(s): Genome British Columbia
  • Status: Closed

Increasing environmental pressures on the BC coastline have affected both coastal habitats and the productivity of the aquaculture industry. Unexplained shellfish mortality at four of the major BC aquaculture companies accounted for nearly C$6 million in lost sales in 2007. This project developed genomic resources (clone libraries, sequences, database) for two species of marine mussels which are of significance as aquaculture animals as well as costal health bioindicator species worldwide. The researchers involved in this project also highlighted problematic mussel sourcing issues in hatchery controls and farm management, and through interactions with shellfish farmers, was able to change farming management practices to stock pure populations of mussels. This project was able to leverage additional funding from Fisheries and Oceans Canada and BC Aquatic Food Resources Society. Industry partners have also shown interests in the potential for using the genomic tools developed for impact assessments.