Mica Verbrugge & Victoria Lake – Canadian Seafood Processing

Mica Verbrugge

An ecosystem in its own right. How Mica Verbrugge and Victoria Lake are able to manage all the moving parts of Effingham Oysters, Canadian Seafood Processing (CSP) and Dock+ is hard to imagine. It began with Effingham Oysters, which Mica purchased with a partner when a great offer came up 10 years ago. The oceans’ bounty and local talent keeps him on his toes and Mica has been expanding and moving forward ever since. In 2018 Victoria Lake joined the adventures.

Port Alberni is beautifully situated on a deep-water fjord, remote and natural — the ideal location to bring coastal community together and overcome financial barriers with a shared processing facility. The challenges of federal regulations and the limitations of not being in direct control of processing product compelled Mica and Victoria to support a proposal to the BC Food Hub Network. The proposal was to refurbish a moth balled fish plant into a food hub. This resulted in the creation of Dock+ in 2019. Effingham Oysters is one of five anchor tenants at Dock+, owned by the Port Alberni Port Authority.

Mica Verbrugge, owner of Canadian Seafood Processing

The couple created Canadian Seafood Processing (CSP) in 2020 to expand their horizons. Operating a Canadian Food Inspection Agency licensed facility, CSP supports local fishers and harvesters including all kinds of finfish, crustaceans and shellfish. They also offer cold storage and live tanks for shellfish and crabs. The seafood products are marketed all over the world and locals can order online with pickup by appointment.

As they expand, oysters remain their bread and butter. Their market is mainly high-end, in-shell, destined for raw oyster bars with around 95% being sent south to California. Similar to other BC farmers they say the demand is growing and seems insatiable. Access to supply, labor and regulatory hurdles limit production.

After the challenges of a pandemic, as they reconnect and rebuild community, Dock+ provides shared use infrastructure which is an enormous step towards the idea of stronger together. With the Seafood Business Accelerator (SBA) offered by the Centre for Seafood Innovation at Vancouver Island University, Mica and Victoria will focus on new product development, branding and marketing for an ever-expanding oyster market.

Producing more oysters doesn’t strain the environment but rather feeds the ecosystem including coastal job creation, domestic food security and supporting indigenous reconciliation. As they shorten supply chains and reduce food insecurity Mica and Victoria are prioritizing sustainability and working on environmental monitoring to ensure a mutually beneficial relationship in all aspects of their relationship with the ocean.


This article was written by Josephine Olivier and published in the Seafood Business Accelerator Celebrating Spring 2023 Graduates Booklet.  

Island Coastal Economic Trust is honoured to have been working in close partnership with the Centre for Seafood Innovation project on the Seafood Business Accelerator program valued at over $186,000. The Trust contributed $60,000 to the overall budget.