Official grilled over seaweed

Regional District of Nanaimo directors pose tough questions to Ministry of Agriculture representative

The harvesting of seaweed in the Bowser area is going ahead, but on a much smaller scale.

Speaking at Tuesday night’s Regional District of Nanaimo meeting, Ministry of Agriculture representative Jim Russell said last year saw five, 1,000-ton licences issued over 21 kilometres of beach stretching from Maple Guard Point to Qualicum Beach. Only about five kilometres was actually utilized and only 300 tons was harvested, he said.

This year, he said, the areas are confined to five kilometres and only two licences were  issued, for a total of 600 tons, a reduction of 88 per cent.

The species in question is called Massaella japonica, an invasive species Russell said came to B.C. shores prior to the Second World War, likely when it was used as packing material for shipments of oyster seed. When the seed was dumped out on the beach, some of the seaweed survived and later thrived.

Russell noted the ministry has consulted with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans as well as with the Ministry of Environment about the harvest, both of which gave it the green light. In addition, he said he is liaising with scientists at the University of Victoria to do an ongoing study of the impacts of the harvest.

Despite the significantly reduced harvest, RDN directors had some hard questions for Russell.

Bowser-Deep Bay director Bill Veenhof led the discussion, noting the harvest issue has been front and centre with his constituents.

“All the concerns I have heard revolve around the perception of a lack of consultation,” he said. “The Qualicum First Nation would certainly like to have a dialogue with you. That’s the number one thing, consultation.”

Veenhof said a group of retired biologiests in the area have expressed concerns about the impact of the seaweed harvest on forage fish that spawn in the intertidal area, such as sand lance. They also have a concern, he added, about the loss of nutrients flowing back into the sea.

Just Posted

Island-filmed TV series gets third season

Crews returning to Parksville Qualicum Beach to film in the spring

Ladysmith marijuana producer bought by Aphria in $230M deal

Ontario licensed marijuana producer Aphria has reached an agreement to acquire Ladysmith-based… Continue reading

Sutherland steps down as SOS executive director

From receptionist to executive director

Pickup ignites in Parksville driveway

Firefighters put out blaze that fully engulfed vehicle

Weight loss a challenge of mind over matter

Qualicum Beach coach says brain holds key to a healthy body

Did you get Hitched in Courtenay on Sunday?

The first annual wedding show saw big crowds and included two fashion shows

Senior randomly stabbed in B.C. mall food court

Woman arrested after victim, 71, suffers serious injuries

Town of Qualicum Beach schedules two more OCP meetings

Meetings planned for Jan. 17 and 24

UPDATE: Police continue to seek missing Qualicum Beach woman

Oceanside RCMP requesting public assistance in locating Carmel Georgina Gilmour

Island Health seeks new executive director for Nanaimo and area

Suzanne Fox, who has filled the position since 2015, is no longer with the health authority

UPDATE: Report finds ‘deep mismanagement’ of IHealth project

Minister of Health Adrian Dix was at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital discussing IHealth review

B.C. Liberal hopefuls begin final leadership push

Five MLAs, one outsider pitch policies to party members

UPDATED: ‘Young, innocent’ teen hit during Vancouver shootout dies

15-year-old Coquitlam boy was in a car driving by the scene

Most Read