L'ÉTANG RUISSEAU BAR
Farmers: André Mallet, Alain Mallet, Jean André and Martin Mallet of L'Étang Ruisseau Bar.
Place: Shippagan, New Brunswick
Product: La St. Simon Oyster and La Mallet Oyster, Bay Scallops and Quahog clams.
André, PhD in Marine Biology, and partner in Mallet Research Services, began Oyster Farming with his father in the late 60's and early 70's in Shippagan, NB. They would collect the oyster seed in a scallop shell and transfer them to their leases and when the oysters matured, they would then be raked and sold. In 1972 his father and two others founded L'Étang Ruisseau Bar, aptly named after a pond & stream where Striped Bass would spawn in Shippagan, NB. After realizing the limitations of collecting seed in scallop shells, they traveled to France to purchase a Chinese Hat, which at the time was very innovative and at the edge of contemporary oyster farming. Being as far north as Shippagan, the oyster growing season is much shorter, and thus began the experimentation in how their oysters were grown. Rather than leaving them on the ocean floor, they moved to the use of an oyster bag, which protected the seed from predators and therefore helped increase the number of oysters that could be harvested. Andre took control of L'Étang Ruisseau in 1996, they have since started producing their own seed in a hatchery in Shippagan. They have also expanded their farm to include bay scallops and quahog clams.
The combination of being marine biologists and oyster farmers allows the Mallet family to really bring a new understanding of the genetic nature of the mysterious bivalve to life. They are currently sampling wild oysters in order to find traits that will be beneficial to both the farmer (such as growth rate) and the consumer (the cup of the shell, amount of meat, and taste). Their research also entails increasing the sustainability of the oyster, learning how to compensate for previous damages of the human footprint such as Malpeque disease-thought to have been caused by the introduction of Pacific Oysters into Atlantic populations.
Click here to watch a video with Dr. Mallet on the history of his family's company