Shellfish aquaculture licence under the Fisheries Act - Part B. General licence conditions

This webpage is intended for informational purposes only.

Shellfish General Licence Conditions

1. Site management plan

1.1 The licence holder shall have a Shellfish Aquaculture Site Management Plan containing the elements described in Appendix I.

1.2 A submission for changes to the Shellfish Aquaculture Site Management Plan shall be made in the form of a harmonized Provincial/Federal Pacific Shellfish Aquaculture Application (available from FrontCounter BC) when the request is for:

  1. changes to species, including addition and removal;
  2. a proposed change to size of the licensed area;
  3. an addition of a floating living accommodation; or
  4. a change to infrastructure not deemed to be standard, as outlined in Appendix II. For other minor amendments to the Shellfish Aquaculture Site Management Plan, the licence holder shall notify the Department within 30 days of the change at: and

2. Facility installation and inspection

2.1 The licence holder shall conduct inspections of equipment, installation methods and anchoring systems at the licensed area, to ensure that equipment and structures are capable of functioning as intended in the environment where they are located in the licensed area. These inspections shall take place:

  1. when the facility is first installed and before any fish are initially introduced or transferred to the facility;
  2. any time structures or equipment are altered;
  3. as required; and
  4. at least once per year.

2.2 All sub-tidal and intertidal boundaries shall be marked clearly.

3. Transfer of fish

3.1 The licence holder may transfer live seed, spat, juveniles to or from the licensed area and another licensed facility possessing a valid aquaculture licence provided that:

  1. The species of live shellfish are listed as part of the "Species" section on the face of this licence;
  2. The receiving area possesses a valid aquaculture licence for the species;
  3. Shellfish are to be transferred only inside the Shellfish Transfer Zone within which they are licensed (see Appendix III (Figure 1 Map of Shellfish Transfer Zones).), with the following exceptions:
    1. Manila Clam (Venerupis philippinarum) may be transferred between Zones 1, 2, 3 and 4 and from any zone to Zone 5. Manila Clam leaving Zone 5 may only be transported to a processing facility;
    2. Transfer of Pacific Oyster (Crassostrea gigas) may take place within a Zone as well as between Zones 1 & 2 or between Zones 3 & 4. Pacific Oyster may be transferred from Zones 3 & 4 to Zone 5, but can only be transferred from Zone 5 directly to processing facilities. Wild Pacific oysters, obtained via lawful commercial shellfish harvest, may be transferred to licensed areas without a separate Introductions and May 01, 2016 Shellfish Aquaculture Conditions of Licence Page 5 of 23 Transfers Licence, provided all applicable conditions under the Fishery (General) Regulations, Pacific Aquaculture Regulations, and Canadian Shellfish Sanitation Program are met.
    3. This licence does not allow for the transfer of Geoduck, Sea Cucumber, or Sea Urchin or Varnish Clam.
  4. The shellfish at the licensed area do not display any observable symptoms of disease.
  5. While in transit between licensed facilities, the shellfish must not enter or come into contact with any growing waters.

3.2 A copy of this licence shall accompany all movements of fish to and from the licensed area, and it shall be available for inspection by a Fishery Officer or Fishery Guardian.

4. Access to wild fish

4.1 The licence holder may:

  1. collect spat of the licensed species on the licensed area;
  2. retain wild shellfish of the licensed species on the licensed area when they are harvested along with the cultivated licensed species.

5. Escapes or releases

5.1 The licence holder shall take all reasonable precautions to prevent the escape or release of cultured fish while:

  1. transporting fish on, over or through fresh or tidal waters; and
  2. transporting fish to or from the licensed area or facility.

6. Incidental catch

6.1 With the exception of Varnish Clam, which may be retained, and licenced species as prescribed in 4.1(b), every person who catches a fish incidentally must immediately return it to the water in a manner that causes it the least harm.

7. Predator control

7.1 Upon discovery of a live entangled or dead marine mammal:

  1. The licence holder shall report immediately to the Department’s Observe, Record and Report (ORR) fax line at 1-604-607-4156 or call 1-800-465-4336.
  2. If the marine mammal is alive and entangled, the licence holder shall make all reasonable attempts to free the animal without harm.
  3. Within 7 days of the incident, a written report shall be submitted to the Marine Mammal Reporting inbox: and A report shall be filed even if the animal is released alive. The report shall include as much information as available at the time of the incident as specified in Appendix IV.

7.2 The licence holder is prohibited from using acoustical deterrent devices for marine mammals.

7.3 The licence holder shall ensure that predator exclusion devices are constructed and maintained to prevent entrapment and avoid potential injury to fish species or wildlife; and to function as intended.

8. Protection of fish habitat

8.1 The licence holder shall ensure that “Styrofoam” used for floatation is securely wrapped in containment material so as to remain intact. Any floatation material that is degrading or is otherwise no longer in use shall be removed from the marine environment and disposed of at land-based facilities.

8.2 The licence holder shall ensure that operations/activities conducted on the licensed area do not result in a build up of shell debris on the seabed.

8.3 The licence holder shall not store or leave any aquaculture equipment or structures on the licensed area unless the equipment or structures are used in that location as part of an aquaculture activity and are affixed/ secured so as not to move off the licensed area.

8.4 The licence holder shall not introduce or cause or allow the introduction of aquaculture refuse (including but not limited to infrastructure, equipment and materials) into the environment in the course of conducting aquaculture activities.

9. Harvesting and handling

9.1 In respect of tagging containers of shellfish:

  1. Prior to leaving the licensed area, all containers holding shellfish that are destined for market sale shall be marked with a visible tag identifying the following:
    1. Licence Holder Name;
    2. Species;
    3. Pacific Fishery Management Area;
    4. Land File Number;
    5. Date of Harvest; and
    6. Facility Reference Number.
  2. Tags shall be waterproof and all information shall be written in water resistant ink.

9.2 For the purposes of wet storage of market-sized bivalves, the licence holder shall not wetstore shellfish originating from areas other than the licensed area unless written approval has been received from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

9.3 Harvested oysters destined for raw consumption must be protected from the sun.

9.4 Harvested oysters destined for raw consumption must be rapidly cooled to less than 10˚C. Refrigeration (4˚C) must be maintained during storage and transportation.

10. Measures to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species

10.1 In Pacific Fishery Management Subareas 20-6 and 20-7 and in Pacific Fishery Management Areas 23 to 27, the licence holder shall thoroughly examine harvested shellfish (oysters, clams, scallop, and mussels) for signs of European Green Crab, and rinse the harvested shellfish prior to being removed from the harvest area.

10.2 Shellfish culture gear (trays, lines, etc.) shall be thoroughly examined and rinsed prior to removal from growing areas in Pacific Fishery Management Subareas 20-6 and 20-7 and in Pacific Fishery Management Areas 23 to 27 for use in another area.

10.3 Shellfish harvested from Pacific Fishery Management Subareas 20-6 and 20-7 and from Pacific Fishery Management Areas 23 to 27 shall be wet stored or grown out only at May 01, 2016 Shellfish Aquaculture Conditions of Licence Page 7 of 23 approved licensed areas in Pacific Fishery Management Subareas 20-6 and 20-7 and in Pacific Fishery Management Areas 23 to 27.

10.4 All containers used for transport of harvested shellfish from Pacific Fishery Management Subareas 20-6 and 20-7 and from Pacific Fishery Management Areas 23 to 27 must be rinsed and all water, including transport water, must be disposed of in a manner that ensure all life stages of European Green Crab do not re-enter marine waters in other areas.

10.5 The licence holder shall not transfer or introduce or cause to introduce an aquatic invasive species beyond waters where it is currently found.

11. On-board waste containment

11.1 All vessels within the licensed area shall be equipped with a designated human waste receptacle on board. Receptacles could include a portable toilet, a fixed toilet, or other containment device as appropriate. Such devices must be made of impervious, cleanable materials and have a tight fitting lid.

11.2 Designated human waste receptacles shall be used only for the purpose intended, and shall be so secured and located as to prevent contamination of the shellfish area, or any harvested shellfish on board by spillage or leakage.

11.3 Designated human waste receptacles shall be emptied only into an approved sewage disposal system, and portable toilets or other designated human waste receptacles shall be cleaned before being returned to the vessel.

12. Records

12.1 The licence holder shall maintain written or electronic records relating to the licensed aquaculture activities throughout the species growing cycle. The records shall contain the elements listed in Section 12.2. Records shall be produced upon request by a Fishery Officer or Fishery Guardian.

12.2 The licence holder shall record, within 24 hours, the importation or transfer of shellfish to the licensed area, the transfer of shellfish from the licensed area and harvest for market sale. Records shall include shellfish wet stored at the licensed area(s) from other locations prior to market sale. The licence holder shall record:

  1. aquaculture Licence Number(s), Facility Reference Numbers, or groups of Aquaculture Licence or Facility Reference Numbers associated with the licence holder for sites in the same Pacific Fishery Management Area;
  2. activity date;
  3. species common name;
  4. the nature of the activity (i.e. Activity Code (IP - Importation) (TS - Transfer) (H - Harvest for Market Sale));
  5. number of containers;
  6. container type;
  7. average container weight, OR total estimated weight OR, estimated number of individuals;
  8. source of shellfish arriving at the site (source licence number, or other);
  9. water classification of source of shellfish arriving at the site; and
  10. destination of shellfish leaving the site (destination site licence number, shellfish buyer, or market sale processor).

12.3 All transfers of shellfish that are leaving the licensed area for grow-out at another destination, (at a site held by another licence holder, or in a different Pacific Fishery Management Area), shall be accompanied by a record of the date, source, destination, species and amount of shellfish in transit.

12.4 Records for all shellfish harvested for market sale shall be maintained and recorded for each licensed site.

12.5 The licence holder shall keep and maintain a log of facility inspections conducted under Section 2.2 and of equipment maintenance actions. The facility inspection and maintenance log above shall be made available for inspection upon request of a Fishery Officer or Fishery Guardian.

12.6 When harvesting oysters destined for raw consumption, the licence holder shall record the time of harvest, the water temperature at minimum harvest depth, and the ambient air temperature at the time of harvest. These records shall be made available for inspection upon request of a Fishery Officer or Fishery Guardian.

13. Annual aquaculture statistical report

13.1 Starting January 25, 2017, and annually thereafter for the term of this licence, the licence holder shall complete and submit to the Department the Annual Aquaculture Statistical Report (Appendix V) for the previous calendar year to the following email address: and

14. Administrative matters

14.1 Unless otherwise noted in specific licence conditions, all reports and submissions required by this licence shall be submitted by email, fax or mail to the Department at: