Baynes Sound a boon to the Comox Valley

Baynes Sound is a huge sea garden area that has produced food for Comox Valley residents for thousands of years.

A COMBINATION OF Baynes Sound aquaculture and Comox Valley agriculture.

A COMBINATION OF Baynes Sound aquaculture and Comox Valley agriculture.





Baynes Sound is a huge sea garden area that has produced food for  Comox Valley residents for thousands of years. The picture with this column features natural produce from the waters of the sound and land-based agriculture from our garden which is on the uplands above the sound.

In my Jan. 13 column I noted that it is about 30 kilometres from Goose Spit to Chrome Island light. To further illustrate the size of the aquaculture garden, if you were to kayak around the perimeter of the sound you would travel approximately 100 kilometres. The productive aquaculture zone is of varying width, depending on species, but it would stretch from Cumberland to Nanaimo. It produces local seafood for which it has an international reputation. Oysters, littleneck clams, butter clams, cockles, scallops, and geoducks are some of the major aquaculture products of this fertile area.

In their book Oysters – A Connoisseur’s Guide and Cookbook, Lonnie Williams and Karen Warner list 64 species of oysters in North America. One of note is Crassostrea gigas: “Fanny Bay, British Columbia. A firm oyster that is very salty and sweet with a pronounced cucumber flavor finish. The fluted shells are thick, which makes them easy to open.” As long as we pay attention to the purity of the water it will produce this unique species of shellfish into the foreseeable future and continue to be a source of jobs for hundreds of local Valley residents.

Over the past few years we have had a series of industrial accidents that have led to the destruction of rich seafood producing coastal regions. The oil spill of the Exxon Valdez is still affecting the coastal waters of Alaska. Last year we had the terrible tragedy in the Gulf of Mexico with the British Petroleum offshore drilling rig that has decimated much of the marine and shellfish industries of the area. Acid mine drainage has created sterile rivers and lakes in the coal mining regions of the Eastern United States. Meanwhile in the Comox Valley we have paid a high price for the acid mine drainage into the Tsolum River.

To celebrate the bounty of Baynes Sound, the Ocean of Plenty II Shellfish Gala Dinner will be held Feb. 11 at the Fanny Bay Community Hall. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. dinner at 7 p.m. This year’s event is donating all profits from the dinner, silent and live auctions to the CoalWatch Comox Valley group who are gravely concerned and alarmed about the possibility of a coal mine on the drainage basin of Baynes Sound.

I share their concerns. At the time of this writing there are still a few tickets left for this gala seafood dinner. The tickets are $50 each and may I be so bold as to suggest that they would make a great Valentine gift for your significant other – after all, oysters are reputed to be exceptionally healthy food for Valentine celebrations.

If you wish to see copies of the menu go to Tickets are available from Laughing Oyster Books and the Freaking Coffee Shop in Courtenay, Blue Heron Books in Comox, Fanny Bay Oysters in Buckley Bay, and Abraxas Books and Gifts on Denman Island. For more information phone John Snyder at 250 335-2246.

Leadership is an exciting and challenging lifestyle, especially in the world of politics. The Comox Valley has a large Regional District, City of Courtenay, Town of Comox, Village of Cumberland, a local member of parliament in Ottawa who is the Minister of Aboriginal and Northern Affairs, a local ML A who is the Minister of Agriculture for British Columbia, and several improvement districts and members on the Island Trust. All of these are elected positions.

It seems to me that responsible leadership on the future of Baynes Sound falls into the perview of all of these elected politicians. As a citizen of Baynes Sound Drainage Basin and the Regional District Area A resident, it would be nice to hear their thoughts on the future of marine gardening in Baynes Sound. I have probably missed some, but so far the only voice I have heard was from Tony Law of the Islands Trust, and he expressed concern.

Ralph Shaw is a master fly fisherman who was awarded the Order of Canada in 1984 for his conservation efforts. In 20 years of writing a column in the Comox Valley Record it has won several awards.


Just Posted

ROAM Media’s Ian Adams designed the label for the new honey ale. Image supplied
Church St., Ace combine on a true Comox Valley brew

The taphouse has Home Buoy on tap, and it’s also in cans

The finish line! Huband held a ‘Colour Run’ Friday to celebrate what’s been a different school year. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Comox Valley school lets its colours run

Huband Elementary wanted a way to bring kids together

Cumberland has agreed to a sponsorship agreement with the Comox Valley Chamber of Commerce. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Cumberland agrees to sponsorship with Comox Valley Chamber of Commerce

Some on council did express concerns from the past such as amalgamation push

Habitat VIN executive director Pat McKenna, and community engagement manager (Comox Valley) Alli Epp are all geared up for the 2021 Habitat For Humanity Vancouver Island North #BidtoBuild online auction. Photo supplied
Habitat for Humanity Vancouver Island North online auction opens soon

Get ready to ‘bid to build.’ The 2021 Habitat For Humanity Vancouver… Continue reading

Ronan and his son, eight-year-old Erwan Teyssier ran The Cumby together this year. Photo supplied
Cumby Trail Race raises $15,000+ for Cumberland forest protection

The theme of The Cumby 2021 trail race was ‘Celebrating This Land’… Continue reading

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Premier John Horgan speaks as provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, right, and health minister Adrian Dix look on during a press conference to update on the province’s fall pandemic preparedness plan during a press conference from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to provide details on Step 2 of COVID reopening plan Monday

Step 2 could allow for larger gatherings and a resumption of recreational travel

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

Most Read