Seaweed concern

Plan to harvest seaweed from Qualicum Bay beaches likely a bad idea

I am writing with some concern regarding the  experimental harvest of 1,000 tons of  seaweed from the shoreline between Deep Bay and Qualicum Bay.

The Seagrass Conservation Working Group feel there is a need  for further study, especially given that the actual licences are for five companies with a total of 5,000 tons annually.  Our concerns include the impact of removing massive amounts of organic matter from nearshore food webs, and other specific issues related to harvest methods.

Seaweed and other vegetation piled on the beach after storm events is called beach wrack. This wrack will stay for a time and then be carried by waves into off-shore food webs.  Recent studies have shown that decaying beach wrack exports substantial amounts of nutrients into nearshore  (and estuary) ecosystems. Nutrients are required for plant life and plankton to grow, which in turn feeds smaller organisms that feed commercially important marine life such as salmon and shellfish.

The beach wrack also has other important roles that keep our ocean ecosystem working for the benefit of fishermen, tourism industry, landowners and general community. These include maintaining the backshore; providing food for invertebrates, birds and animals on the beach; and fertilizing the intertidal and sub-tidal through nutrients carried to the groundwater by rain.

The harvesting methods involve the use of rakes and pitchforks which could potentially disturb Sand lance or Surf smelt, forage fish that spawn in the upper intertidal. These fish are key to many ocean food chains including salmon, herring,  whales, and marine birds.

Shaking a pitchfork is not a reliable approach to ensure they only collect the target species. Sorting is also not enforceable legally and so presents further potential for impacts.

And we have been made aware of some questions regarding the actual target species and for clarification purposes we would like see a specialized marine biologist review this information, so there is a shared understanding between all stakeholders.

Diane Sampson


Deep Bay



Just Posted

Parksville reopens portion of wetland

City undertakes review, remediation of liability concerns

Is Steve Nash Vancouver Island’s best athlete of all-time?

As Captain Canada gets ready to enter basketball’s Hall of Fame it’s time to debate his legacy

Who is Vancouver Island’s greatest athlete ever?

We want to know, you get to choose in a 64-athlete tournament bracket

Vehicle knocks out Parksville power pole

Traffic single lane heading southbound

Qualicum Beach man arrested after women report disturbing phone calls

Suspect threatened to kill victim’s family if she did not engage in sexually explicit conversation

VIDEO: Grand Forks shores up defences as floodwaters rise to peak levels

Canadian Forces, volunteers working to protect low-lying areas

Chilliwack Chiefs moving on to RBC Cup final after thrilling win over Ottawa

Kaden Pickering scored the winning goal in the 3rd period as Chilliwack won their semi-final 3-2.

VIDEO: As floodwaters recede, crews assess the damage to Grand Forks’ downtown

More than four dozen firefighters and building inspectors came out to help

Wellington Dukes pull off epic upset of Wenatchee at RBC Cup

The Dukes are off to the championship game after downing the Wild 2-1 Saturday at Prospera Centre.

Canada to face U.S. for bronze at world hockey championship

Canada was looking to play in the gold medal game for a fourth straight year, but saw 3-2 loss

Searchers for Vancouver Island father turn focus to Cowichan River

Cowichan SAR joined by many other SAR groups, volunteers now determined to find missing man

Vacationers urged to check for stowaway bats that could carry deadly disease

‘White-nose syndrome’ has killed millions of bats in North America, but hasn’t arrived in B.C. yet

Highway 19A closed in both directions near Union Bay

An incident involving a vehicle has shut down Highway 19A in both directions early Saturday morning.

Are B.C.’s gas prices enough to keep you from travelling May long weekend?

Gas prices in B.C. ranging from 125 cents per litre to more than 150 cents

Most Read