Assessing potential benthic impacts of intertidal and subtidal geoduck clam harvest
There has been widespread interest in the culture of Pacific geoduck clam (Panopea abrupta) species within BC for a number of years, but the commercial-scale development has been hindered until fairly recently by a lack of governmental policy/legislation. In 2007, DFO and the BC Ministry of Agriculture and Lands (BC MAL) finalized policies which allowed the government to proceed with the issuance of subtidal (but not intertidal) geoduck tenures. There are major concerns around how geoduck culture will impact the environment. These concerns are generally focused on the harvesting process as high-pressure water hoses ("stingers") are used to liquefy the substrate around the clams in order to extract them. It should be noted that this technique is not just isolated to aquaculturists, as it is also the method used in the wild fishery. Cultured or enhanced geoduck densities are generally much higher than wild stocks and therefore aquaculture harvest impacts may be amplified. If the results of this study indicated impacts were minimal or within acceptable limits, then one could assume the impacts of wild harvest would also be minimal.
2008 - 2010
Pacific: Strait of Georgia
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