For more than 30 years divers have been harvesting green sea urchins from the pristine Passamaquoddy region of the Bay of Fundy. The edible part of this spectacularly spiky creature is known as “uni” in Japanese and is a popular sashimi delicacy. Uni is known for its creamy texture and bright golden hue.

But the green sea urchin fishery is complex due to the delicate nature of the urchin. The urchins must be carefully handpicked from the bay at the perfect time of year in order to harvest the uni successfully. Often the fishery is only open a few months a year.

Uni sushi

The founders of Quoddy Savour Seafood had a vision. How could uni be more accessible to sushi lovers and more regularly available for sushi chefs around the world? As veterans of the growing and highly successful aquaculture industry on Canada’s east coast, the founders dreamed of developing a full life-cycle model using a commercial, land-based, saltwater recirculating holding tank system (RAS). This “egg to table” model had already been highly successful in the fin fish industry where it provides a sustainable, year-round source of healthy protein for consumers. If it works for salmon, it could work for urchins.

In 2015, the founders partnered with the Huntsman Marine Science Centre in St. Andrews, New Brunswick. The Huntsman now hosts the nursery for Quoddy’s green sea urchin broodstock. The scientists there spawn adults harvested from the Bay of Fundy. They then care for the sea urchins until they are transported to Quoddy’s RAS facility in Pennfield, New Brunswick. In Pennfield, the urchins are carefully monitored, nurtured and grown until maturity. They are harvested in the company’s CFIA approved facility.  

Along with green sea urchin cultivation, Quoddy holds live American lobsters to ensure continuity and consistency of supply to the North American lobster market.

Tanks in our Quoddy facility