Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) has suspended all clam harvesting activities in Area 25 and 125 – consisting of areas in Nootka Sound and Esperanza Inlet– following COVID-19 outbreak in nearby First Nations communities.
The clam harvesting was postponed at the request of local communities.
The DFO had earlier planned a harvesting window between Nov. 29 to Dec. 1, however now the next planned commercial clam fishery is scheduled between Dec.15 to 17.
In a notice sent out to members of the Nuchatlaht First Nation near Zeballos the DFO said that the commercial clam fishery has been postponed for the safety of community members and those who may travel to these communities.
On Nov. 20, an outbreak was reported in the Ehattesaht First Nation reserve, following which the community was under a lock down. Neighbouring communities of Zeballos and Nuchatlaht First Nation also exercised caution after the outbreak.
Before digging for clams, DFO is asking harvesters to check and ensure that the areas are open for harvesting bivalve shellfish. Harvesting from closed areas is illegal and could lead to paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP).
Based on the latest update from DFO, several subareas of Area 25 are open for harvest specific varieties of clams.
Subareas 25-1 to 25-7, 25-9, 25-10, 25-11, 25-13 to 25-15 are open to harvest manila clams, littleneck clams, oysters and mussels only, and remains closed to all other bivalve shellfish. Balance of Area 25 closed to all bivalve shellfish.
In Area 125, subareas 1-6 are closed to all bivalve species.