DFO asks for public’s help

Parksville Qualicum Beach residents alleging some people are harvesting shellfish illegally

This popular beach access off Butterball Drive in Eaglecrest is a great spot for families

This popular beach access off Butterball Drive in Eaglecrest is a great spot for families

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans needs your help.

The NEWS has received numerous calls and letters from residents expressing concern about people allegedly overharvesting shellfish from local beaches.

A spokesperson for the federal government department that sets the rules regarding salt-water fisheries urges people who believe they are witnessing illegal activity to call their toll-free line.

“We are asking for help from the public to prevent illegal harvesting of shellfish,” said the DFO’s Diane Lake.

The number to call is 1-800-465-4336.

The Parksville Qualicum Beach area is within the DFO’s Area 14. The subareas involved from Nanoose Bay through to Deep Bay (the shorelines only) are areas 14-1, 14-4 and 14-5. The bulk of this shoreline (subareas 14-1 and 14-4) is closed to all bivalve shellfish except manila clams, littleneck clams, oysters and mussels. Subarea 14-5, in the northern reaches of our region, is closed only to butter clams.

Recreational harvesters are allowed to take geoducks in our region, with a limit of three per day, but not in most of the region. Callers to The NEWS have said they have witnessed large groups of people taking geoducks from the Eaglecrest beach at the end of Yambury Road (the access is off Butterball Drive).

According to the DFO website, due to sanitary contamination concerns, there is no harvesting of bivalve shellfish in the following areas in our region: Base Flats, Boat Cove, Campbell River, Comox Harbour, Craig Creek, Deep Bay, Elma Bay, False Bay, Kitty Coleman Beach to Little River, Kye Bay, Little Qualicum River, Mud Bay, Parksville Bay, Qualicum Beach, Union Bay, Wall Beach.

You can find a table of limits, closures and other information on this part of the DFO’s website: www.pac.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/fm-gp/rec/species-especes/shelltable-tableaucoquille-eng.html