Geoduck Fishery - Pacific Region

Photo: geoducks

Geoducks

Species Information

Integrated Fisheries Management Plans 

Overview of the Fishery

Geoducks ("gooey-duck") are harvested commercially by divers using high pressure water delivered through a nozzle (known as a "stinger") which loosens the substrate around the clam and allows the diver to lift the clams out live. Geoducks are quickly shipped to processing plants where they are packed and usually delivered live to Asian markets.

The recreational fishery is limited to hand digging methods: Commercial gear ("stingers") cannot be used for sport harvest.

The commercial fishery is managed by limiting harvest with a combination of a total allowable catch, individual licence quotas and a catch verification program. The Total Allowable Catch (TAC) is calculated by first determining the biomass (the product of the bed area, the geoduck density and mean individual geoduck weight), and applying an annual harvest rate of 1.8%. Deductions from the TAC are made for clams harvested in scientific surveys, for geoduck broodstock for aquaculture and enhancement purposes and for biotoxin monitoring programs. The remaining TAC is divided into 55 equal quotas, one for each licence eligibility.

A three-year area rotational process is in effect in many areas of the coast. Each of the three geographic regions of the coast (North Coast, West Coast of Vancouver Island and Inside Waters), is divided into three sub-units with roughly equal geoduck harvest areas. Some of these sub-units are fished at three times the annual exploitation rate (a total harvest rate of 5.4 %) once every three years. The exceptions to rotational fisheries are in Areas 16 and 23 to 27 which are fished annually to increase flexibility in harvest management. Rotational fisheries concentrate the fishing fleet to make it easier to monitor quotas and reduce the annual number of landing ports for validation of landings. As well, they allows for a more thorough examination of fishery areas, since data from only one third of the coast needs to be processed.

There are circumstances where annual fisheries are more sensible such as on the West Coast of Vancouver Island where closures due to PSP and predation from Sea Otters require the flexibility of having annual access to all areas.

Contacts

250-756-7271

Lead Resource Manager, Geoduck Fishery

250-756-7139

Science
Nanaimo

For other geoduck fishery departmental contacts, please consult the Shellfish Contacts page.