As a reminder to the community of current shellfish harvesting regulations, the NEWS spoke with resoure management biologist with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Elysha Gordon.
To find out what areas are open to bivalve shellfish harvesting, people can check out the map at www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/shellfish-mollusques/cssp-map-eng.htm.
Currently, subarea 14-1 (the Craig Bay area) is open to the harvest of manila clams, littleneck clams, oysters and mussels only, said Gordon.
“If you have a tidal waters fishing licence, the limits for oysters are 15 oysters in the shell per person per day, 75 clams total per person per day and 75 mussels per person per day,” she said in an email. “The best place to find this information is the Sports Fishing Guide – British Columbia (www.pac.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/fm-gp/rec/tidal-maree/a-s14-eng.html) under the Bivalve Shellfish Tab.”
In terms of enforcement, Fisheries and Oceans Fishery Officers patrol the area, and will often check with people they see are harvesting, said Gordon. “If someone is concerned that the area is being overharvested they can call the DFO Observe, Record, Report line at 1-800-465-4336 where all information is sent to a Fishery Officer responsible for that area.”
One Nanoose Bay resident was concerned about the amount of people harvesting shellfish from Craig Bay.
“Surely the shellfish stocks cannot withstand such pillaging,” she said, describing people removing “giant bags” of clams, sometimes twice a day.