East Coast Shellfish Growers Association Spotlight Article

  • Published by:
    Matt Derry
  • Published on:
    May 17, 2022

We were lucky enough to be interviewed by Bob Rheault of the East Coast Shellfish Growers Association and have our own Product Spotlight feature in their most recent newsletter. The Article can be found on Page 12 of the April 2022 Edition of their newsletter, find it at at secureservercdn.net/

Here is the article:

I recently had a chance to talk to Ryan Ellis and Matt Derry of Compass Aquaculture Solutions, a six-person company that operates out of Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada. The company was born in 2015 when shellfish growers looking for a way to manage the day-to-day operations and inventory on their farms approached founding members Jeremy Noonan and Gary Compton for help. After spending countless hours working with various shellfish farms to learn about their operations, Jeremy and Gary developed the Buoy Up farm management system—easy-to-use software and tools tailored to meet the practical needs of shellfish growers. Their motto is, “Built for your office,” whether it’s on land or on the water.

Many growers face challenges staying on top of their businesses, especially as they grow in size, and even the most computer-savvy among them find that inventory management can be a significant chore. Any shellfish grower who has suffered a crop loss can vouch for the fact that if you don’t have good inventory tracking prior to a loss, you won’t be able to file a claim for crop insurance. Likewise, if you are looking for a loan to expand your business, the bank will want to see solid numbers before they give you a penny.

So the Compass team set out to develop a simple, easy-to-use software package that is adaptable to the highly diverse shellfish farming community. Buoy Up can help growers keep track of various processes such as brine-dipping schedules, cage desiccation, dividing of bags as the crop grows, etc. The software was designed to be able to work offline, with an inexpensive tablet or even a cell phone, to record the tasks you are doing on the water; and each member of your team can enter data so the whole team knows what needs to be done at any given time.

The software is highly adaptable and can be used to keep track of almost anything, from mussel lines to the wide variety of trays and cages that growers now use. You can even use it to help remind you when it’s time to change the oil in your truck or perform routine maintenance on your outboard.

Data from the software application can be exported into Microsoft Excel, which makes it easy to gain insights by running additional analytics on anything you want to track. In addition, the reporting feature allows you to generate reports that can calculate inventory on the whole farm, per lease, by grade or even on individual lines, to help you stay in control of the normally chaotic farm-management tasks.

The Compass team is really proud of their IT talent, and they are constantly improving the Buoy Up system to meet the changing needs of growers and to address new concerns. They have worked hard to make Buoy Up user-friendly and easy-to-learn, understanding that most growers are not computer geeks or math whizzes. They believe these features really set them apart from the competition.

Currently, most of the Compass customer base is located in Canada, but that is likely to change soon. U.S. customers are quickly coming onboard after seeing Buoy Up’s capabilities and features, especially its ability to be used offline, as many farmers have faced difficulty with connectivity issues out on the water in the past. Interest has soared since Oyster Tracker shifted its business focus away from farm management to concentrate on marketing, tagging and traceability.

With the recent growth of shellfish farming, particularly in the southern U.S., the Compass team is eager to continue learning about different techniques and challenges in the diverse shellfish aquaculture industry, and they are pleased to bring their considerable skills to bear on innovating and improving what has traditionally been a more conventional, tech-averse sector. For more info on the Buoy Up farm-management system.