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September 16, 2013
For immediate release

Provincial Shellfish Recognition Awards announced

Fisheries, Aquaculture and Rural Development

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George Henderson of Freeland and David Cole of New London have received the 2013 Provincial Minister’s Shellfish Recognition Awards for their long-standing contributions to Prince Edward Island’s shellfish industry.

“I am very pleased to recognize George and David for their outstanding contributions to the shellfish industry,” said Fisheries, Aquaculture and Rural Development Minister Ron MacKinley. “Their leadership has been an inspiration to others in the industry, and has contributed to making the province one of the leading producers of quality shellfish in Canada.”

Mr. Henderson provided strong leadership to the industry as both an innovator and an advocate. He started his career at the Fisheries and Oceans Biological Station in Bideford in 1963 and five years later opened Prince Edward Island’s first privately run hatchery, Malpeque Oyster Culture Inc. The hatchery cultured oyster and quahaug seed for sale and for research, enhancement, and aquaculture activities. As provincial minister of fisheries from 1974-1978, he developed stronger ties between industry and the department, and encouraged the development of the shellfish sector. He also served as parliamentary secretary to federal fisheries minister Romeo LeBlanc during his time as a member of parliament and was a strong advocate for the shellfish industry.

Mr. Cole has been involved in the shellfish industry for over 30 years. He started one of the first companies to successfully culture blue mussels on the North Shore of Prince Edward Island. His dedication to improving mussel growing techniques led to many innovations growing and processing cultured mussels. Today his operations, Coles Mussel Farms and Prince Edward Aqua Farms, employ 165 full time and seasonal people in the mussel culture and processing sectors in New London, a significant contribution to the area.

“Prince Edward Island’s shellfish industry continues to grow and develop because of the efforts of committed harvesters and processors,” said Minister MacKinley. “We can all be proud of their achievements.”

The shellfish industry in Prince Edward Island contributes approximately $74 million annually to the provincial economy, and employs more than 2,500 people in rural and coastal communities. The annual awards were established 14 years ago to recognize those who have made outstanding contributions to the industry.

Media Contact: Kim Devine
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