Clam poaching

While walking Qualicum Beach at low tide, we came upon a family doing what, at first sight, looked like digging for fun.

Last week, while walking Qualicum Beach at low tide, my husband and I came upon a family of four enjoying the beach, doing what, at first sight, looked like digging for fun. Upon getting closer, we saw three large holes and they were working on the fourth hole.

I stopped beside them and asking what they were doing. They said: “just digging.” I said it looked like they were digging for clams and that in fact, they can be poisonous at this time of year and it was illegal.

The adult male of the family assured me they were not digging for clams. We all smiled, all friendly, and we walked away. My BS detectors were screaming. As we turned to watch more closely, they were in fact, digging with intent. So we returned and informed them what they were doing was illegal.

Again the adult male very calmly and respectfully told me they just wanted to see what they looked like. I asked them where they were from; they said Burnaby, so I promptly said then they would know the laws around shellfish harvesting. We asked that they return the large bag of clams they had to the sea which they did.

On our return to our vehicle, we encountered another group of four also digging with intent. We also informed them that they were poaching and to stop. Both groups were polite and stopped but I do not believe they didn’t know what they were doing. They were far up the beach, away from people; both groups said they didn’t know the laws, yet lived in Burnaby and Victoria. The first family of four said they were just looking, yet had a large grocery bag full.

Here was blatant disregard for the law in front of many people who were on the beach that day yet not saying anything.

Diane ErmacoraQualicum Woods

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