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Stock Status Update of wild Geoducks in British Columbia for 2021

Science Response Process– Pacific Region

March 1, 2022
Nanaimo, British Columbia

Chairperson: Erin Porszt


Pacific Geoduck (Panopea generosa) populations occur in discrete beds of soft substrate, distributed throughout the coast of British Columbia (BC). Geoducks are clams that live buried up to 1m below the sediment surface and are therefore sedentary. Individual Geoduck beds are connected by means of planktonic larvae, thereby forming meta-populations. Based on current knowledge, Geoduck populations form a single genetic stock along the BC coast (Miller et al. 2006).

A commercial dive fishery for Geoducks began in BC in 1976. The fishery is managed with a total allowable catch (TAC), individual vessel quotas, scheduled openings and area quotas.

Stock assessment and management of the fishery are conducted on the spatial scale of individual Geoduck sub-beds. In 2021, there were 2,935 documented Geoduck beds on the BC coast, made up of 5,242 sub-beds. The stock is assessed following methods described in the stock assessment framework (Bureau et al. 2012). The framework was updated (DFO 2014, Bureau 2017, DFO 2017) as requested by Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) Fisheries Management branch. Biomass and stock index estimates are updated annually to incorporate the latest data on population densities, mean Geoduck weights and bed area.

DFO Fisheries Management Branch has requested that Science Branch provide yearly updates of the BC wild Geoduck biomass estimates, stock index and stock status, relative to DFO’s Precautionary Approach (DFO 2009). The purpose of this Canadian Science Advisory Secretariat (CSAS) Science Response (SR) is to summarize 2021 updates to BC wild Geoduck biomass estimates provided to fishery managers for setting Geoduck quotas for the 2022-2023 fishing season and to provide updated stock index and stock status.


To provide estimates of BC wild Geoduck stock biomass, stock index and stock status, updated in 2021, and summarize the Science Advice provided to fishery managers for setting quotas for the 2022-2023 Geoduck fishing season.

The specific objectives of this review are to:

  1. Summarize estimates of geoduck density, mean weight, and bed area, incorporating the most recent data from fishery-independent density dive surveys (conducted in 2020) and harvest events (2019-2020 fishing season).
  2. Provide estimates of geoduck biomass by Pacific Fishery Management Area and coastwide, for sub-beds in the following categories: potentially available for harvest, impacted by Sea Otter predation, located in closures, and total.
  3. Provide the stock index for the BC Geoduck stock as a whole.
  4. Determine Geoduck stock status relative to the Limit Reference Point and Upper Stock Reference.
  5. Compare TAC set by fishery managers for the 2022-2023 Geoduck fishing season to harvest option estimates.
  6. Estimate the actual Geoduck annual harvest rate (TAC divided by biomass) and compare to the Removal Reference.

Expected Publications

Expected Participation



Participation to CSAS peer review meetings is by invitation only.

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