ARCHIVED – Aquaculture Innovation and Market Access Program - Project Summary

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Clam digging technology in BC lags behind other parts of the world, where mechanical harvesters have been employed for decades. In BC, beaches are still dug manually with long-tined rakes. Clam growers struggle to attract workers to harvest clams because of the labour intensive nature of the work and uncertain wages. To demonstrate the benefits of mechanical harvesting, the BC Shellfish Growers Association designed and built an adapted mechanical clam harvester. The Mark II harvester is now in use on BC clam growing beaches. The Mark II harvests more clams, in less time, with fewer workers. The machine can harvest large beaches 2-3 times faster than manual harvesting, with one to two workers, compared to fifteen to sixteen workers with manual harvesting. Additionally, it harvests low density beach areas, and reduces losses from juvenile clam mortalities. An environmental impact study showed that the harvester’s impact was no greater than manual harvesting. As a result, mechanical clam harvesting technology is now available to clam growers in BC. This allows clam growers in the province to achieve significant productivity increases and provides a competitive advantage in the market place. The Mark II is an example of technical excellence aimed at sustainable resource use.

Project Lead: British Columbia Shellfish Growers Association (BCSGA)

Total Project Cost: $174,000
DFO-AIMAP Contribution: $100,000

Other Financial Support:

For more information please contact the regional coordinator.

Pacific Region: