North Beach re-opened for clam harvests

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Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) has lifted a closure on recreational harvests for butter clams and razor clams on Haida Gwaii’s North Beach.

The prohibition in subarea 1-5 went into effect for all bivalve shellfish Oct. 30, out of precaution over for failed sampling of biotoxin contamination.

Subarea 1-5, stretching along the northern coast from Wiah Point to Rose Point, was reopened Nov. 3, but all other subareas along the north coast remain closed.

Skidegate Inlet, subarea 2-1, is also closed to all bivalve harvests.

In the past four years there have been significant increases of biotoxin blooms around the province during the winter months.

“It’s just not uncommon anymore,” a DFO spokesperson said. “And that’s the message we’re really trying to tell everyone — really, really make sure you check the DFO website before you harvest. Don’t go with the old-wives’ tale that the months ending in ‘r’ are safe for harvesting.”

Causes of the closures relate to either paralytic shellfish poisoning (red tide), domoic acid poisoning, diarrhetic shellfish poisoning and other marine toxins affecting oysters, clams, scallops, mussels and geoduck.

Quinn Bender, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince Rupert Northern View