Automated Oyster Pouch Flipper

This project will involve the design, testing, and construction of a new oyster pouch flipper prototype.

Project Dates: June 1, 2021 - May 31, 2022
Funding Amount: $25,000
Students Hired: 2

Project Summary

In this project, NSERC funds are supporting North Island College and Ritchie Holdings Ltd. (RHL) to develop an automated oyster pouch flipper that can be affixed to the side of a boat, which will increase oyster farming efficiency and safety. The Pacific Oyster, Crassostrea gigas, is the most widely farmed shellfish species in British Columbia (BC). A novel oyster grow-out system in BC involves placing oysters in floating rectangular pouches made of semi-rigid plastic mesh that are linked together, forming long strings. These pouch systems make the oysters and infrastructure convenient to access for maintenance and harvesting, while keeping the oysters in prime growing conditions. However, pouches must be flipped 2-6 times per month to prevent the build-up of marine biofouling, which is labour intensive and hazardous. NIC researchers and students will design, construct, and test a new prototype at RHL's commercial shellfish tenures off the coast of Vancouver Island. Results of this project will help RHL overcome an important labour challenge and increase their capacity for oyster production.

Research Team

Scott McGregor
Scott McGregor, Researcher
Scott is a professional Physicist with a background in physics, mathematics and environmental engineering. A lifelong love of teaching led Scott to return to instructing physics at North Island College in 2019. For the previous 15 years, Scott worked as an Environmental Scientist in the field of environmental engineering. During this time, he conducted and managed environmental investigations, remediation planning and hydrogeological investigations.
Zachary Toews
Zachary Toews, Student Research Assistant
Zak is a student researcher and an aspiring engineer at North Island College who can often be found deep in his studies of the Engineering Foundations Certificate program. He has a passion for design and enjoys the outdoors. As a mature student, he tries to bring his workforce experience from many years in construction to the front of his efforts.
Delwyn Marcoux, Student Research Assistant
Delwyn is of the Wendat (Huron) Nation, of the Yondia’wich (Turtle) Clan, and a second-year engineering student at North Island College. They care deeply about preserving biodiversity and are becoming an engineer to help mitigate climate change while working to re-awaken the Wendat culture within themselves.