Across the B.C. Lower Mainland education efforts to warn about the dangers of clam digging seemingly haven’t been enough to stop some from hitting the beach and harvesting what they can find.
Harvesting bivalve shellfish is illegal around the Lower Mainland because of pollution and toxin concerns.
Fisheries and Oceans Canada has taken to banning the harvesting of bivalve shellfish around the inlets and bays in the Metro Vancouver region, as well as up around the Fraser River etc, because of those health concerns.
Rise in Clam Digging Around B.C.
According to officials with Fisheries and Oceans Canada they say that they have seen a rise in people who are out on the beach and digging for clams.
Right now they are reportedly trying to stop that illegal harvesting as this is a top issue for them. To deal with the rise in the problem they’re focusing on education with those they encounter.
Fines are also an option they can use too though and those caught could face anywhere from $250 in a fine to thousands for additional fines.
There are some signs that have been posted around these beach areas that warn people about digging for clams.
Regardless of those signs though officials say that there has been a rise through the pandemic of people out on B.C. beaches digging for clams.
They have also put together education pamphlets in various languages to try and educate the community about these restrictions.
Several people last year reported becoming ill from shellfish. And some individuals who are harvesting might think that cooking alone reduces any risk but experts say that this isn’t the case and there could still be some toxins present even after cooking them.
For many that have grown up in B.C. they might not have even known that digging for clams was restricted activity, unless they had ever ventured out to try and do it or seen the signs educating on that rule.
Given the diversity of ethnic backgrounds of people who have been seen or caught harvesting shellfish around B.C. however, the education efforts have been difficult.
Still, authorities are working hard to put a stop to illegal harvesting in the region today.