Start of P.E.I.'s oyster season delayed as many shellfish areas remain closed

·2 min read
In a news release Thursday, the Fisheries Department noted that the fall oyster season has been delayed by two days, to this Friday. (Little Shemogue Oyster Company/submitted - image credit)
In a news release Thursday, the Fisheries Department noted that the fall oyster season has been delayed by two days, to this Friday. (Little Shemogue Oyster Company/submitted - image credit)

Shellfish fishing areas in much of P.E.I.'s North and South Shore remained closed Thursday, almost two weeks after record-breaking rainfall closed most of the province's shoreline.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada closed most of Island's shellfishing areas earlier this month, after the remnants of Hurricane Ida led to the rainiest day ever measured in Summerside.

The rainfall posed dangers from bacteria, which can be washed from land into the ocean after heavy rain, contaminating shellfish.

On Thursday, the department said some shellfishing areas have reopened, but not all.

Although they have extended past the usual seven-day range, the closures were not unexpected, one Island shellfishery noted.

"It's kind of just one of those things that happens throughout the year," Atlantic Shellfish president Jacob Dockendorff said Thursday. "It's kind of a normal occurrence for us, so it's something that I had planned for. ... I think for the most part, anybody in shellfish does plan for that."

Nancy Russell/CBC
Nancy Russell/CBC

Dockendorff said he expects all areas will be open by the end of this week.

"They typically focus their testing on areas that are harvested for human consumption and open those areas first, and then they open up the rest of the areas after that," he said.

"There's just limited ability to test all the waters at the same time, but they've always done a great job of opening up the high-priority areas first."

Season opening delayed by two days

In a news release Thursday, the Fisheries Department noted that the fall oyster season has been delayed to this Friday.

P.E.I.'s fall season, which runs from Sept. 15 to Nov. 30, would normally have opened on Wednesday.

This year, however, since not all traditional fall oyster fishing areas are opened yet, "P.E.I. Shellfish Association submitted a request to delay the season until Sept. 17," the Fisheries Department said in a news release.

"This request was approved by the department."

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting