Harvests of all bivalves, including razor clams (pictured), are off limits in most areas of B.C.’s North Coast due to a sudden rise in biotoxins. (File photo)

Harvests of all bivalves, including razor clams (pictured), are off limits in most areas of B.C.’s North Coast due to a sudden rise in biotoxins. (File photo)

Marine biotoxins force closure of North Coast shellfish harvesting

Blooms on the rise during winter months

Fisheries and Oceans Canada has shut down nearly all bivalve shellfish harvesting on the North Coast due to a rapid rise in marine biotoxins.

Haida Gwaii, including the Skidegate and Masset Inlets, and all other popular harvest areas near Prince Rupert, Bella Coola and Kitimat are affected.

Causes of the closures vary between paralytic shellfish poisoning (red tide), domoic acid poisoning, diarrhetic shellfish poisoning and other marine toxins affecting oysters, clams, scallops, mussels and geoduck.

In the past four years, DFO warns, there have been significant increases of biotoxin blooms around the province during the winter months.

READ MORE: Three people from Prince Rupert area recovering from shellfish poisoning

“It’s just not uncommon anymore,” a DFO spokesperson said. “And that’s the message we’re really trying to tell everyone — really, really make sure you check the DFO website before you harvest. Don’t go with the old-wives’ tale that the months ending in ‘r’ are safe for harvesting.”

As of 1 p.m. on Oct. 15 the very few openings in northern subareas include Haida Gwaii’s North Shore for butter and razor clam harvests, and extremely specific areas for various scallop species around Digby Island near Prince Rupert. There are seven openings around Kitimat but none near Bella Coola.

See the DFO notice for details and maps.


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A health care worker prepares to test a Coastal GasLink field worker for COVID-19. (Coastal GasLink photo)
Coastal GasLink begins COVID screening of pipeline workers

Construction is once again ramping up following Northern Health approval of COVID management plan

FILE – A COVID-19 vaccine being prepared. (Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing)
B.C. seniors 80 years and older to get COVID vaccine details over next 2 weeks: Henry

Province is expanding vaccine workforce as officials ramp up age-based rollout

Chris Paulson of Burns Lake took a quick selfie with a lynx over the weekend of Feb. 20-22, 2021, after the wild cat was found eating some of his chickens. (Chris Paulson/Facebook)
VIDEO: Burns Lake man grabs lynx by scruff after chickens attacked

‘Let’s see the damage you did, buddy,’ Chris Paulson says to the wild cat

Fisheries and Oceans Canada released it's 2021 Pacific Herring Integrated Fisheries Management Plan Feb. 19. (File photo)
Northern herring opportunities kept to a minimum

2021 management plan caps Prince Rupert fishery at 5 per cent

A collaborative genomic research project is underway to map the movements of 118 Northwest sockeye populations to better inform management decisions on at-risk stocks. (File photo)
Genomic study tracks 118 Northwest B.C. sockeye populations

Development of new tool will be used to help harvesters target healthy groups

A health worker holds a vial of AstraZeneca vaccine to be administered to members of the police at a COVID-19 vaccination center in Mainz, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. The federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate, start with the vaccination of police officers in internal police vaccination centers. (Andreas Arnold/dpa via AP)
B.C. officials to unveil new details of COVID vaccination plan Monday

Seniors and health-care workers who haven’t gotten their shot are next on the list

An investigation is underway after a man was shot and killed by Tofino RCMP in Opitsaht. (Black Press Media file photo)
Man shot and killed by RCMP near Tofino, police watchdog investigating

Investigation underway by Independent Investigations Office of British Columbia.

B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver on Tuesday December 11, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s compromise on in-person worship at three churches called ‘absolutely unacceptable’

Would allow outdoor services of 25 or less by Langley, Abbotsford and Chilliwack churches

Baldy Mountain Resort was shut down on Saturday after a fatal workplace accident. (Baldy Mountain picture)
Jasmine and Gwen Donaldson are part of the CAT team working to reduce stigma for marginalized groups in Campbell River. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
Jasmine’s story: Stigma can be the hardest hurdle for those overcoming addiction

Recovering B.C. addict says welcome, connection and community key for rebuilding after drug habit

A Vancouver restaurant owner was found guilty of violating B.C.’s Human Rights Code by discriminating against customers on the basis of their race. (Pixabay)
Vancouver restaurant owner ordered to pay $4,000 to customers after racist remark

Referring to patrons as ‘you Arabs’ constitutes discrimination under B.C.’s Human Rights Code, ruling deems

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Nanaimo children’s author and illustrator Lindsay Ford’s latest book is ‘Science Girl.’ (Photo courtesy Lindsay Ford)
B.C. children’s writer encourages girls to pursue the sciences in new book

Lindsay Ford is holding a virtual launch for latest book, ‘Science Girl’

Pig races at the 145th annual Chilliwack Fair on Aug. 12, 2017. Monday, March 1, 2021 is Pig Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Feb. 28 to March 6

Pig Day, Canadian Bacon Day and Grammar Day are all coming up this week

Most Read