Razor Clam (Siliqua patula), 2016 - 2018
Fishing Subarea 1-5 and a portion of Subarea 102-1
Joint Intertidal Clam Management Plan

Download a PDF version of this Management Plan Summary

The purpose of this Integrated Fisheries Management Plan (IFMP) summary is to provide a brief overview of the information found in the full IFMP. This document also serves to communicate the basic information on the fishery and its management to DFO staff, legislated co-management boards and other stakeholders. This IFMP provides a common understanding of the basic "rules" for the sustainable management of the fisheries resource. The full IFMP is available on request.

This IFMP summary is not a legally binding instrument which can form the basis of a legal challenge. The IFMP can be modified at any time and does not fetter the Minister's discretionary powers set out in the Fisheries Act. The Minister can, for reasons of conservation or for any other valid reasons, modify any provision of the IFMP in accordance with the powers granted pursuant to the Fisheries Act.

Where DFO is responsible for implementing obligations under land claims agreements, the IFMP will be implemented in a manner consistent with these obligations. In the event that an IFMP is inconsistent with obligations under land claims agreements, the provisions of the land claims agreements will prevail to the extent of the inconsistency.

Signature and title of DFO approval authority

Razor Clam Razor Clam (Siliqua patula)

General Overview / Introduction and map

map showing razor clam harvesting area

The razor clam fishery is currently managed jointly between the Council of the Haida Nation (CHN) and Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO). The commercial fishery will open in early March and generally closes when the annual catch ceiling has been reached. The fishery may also close if unacceptable levels of marine biotoxins are reached. The commercial fishery is managed by the Haida Fisheries Program who recommend openings and closings based on tides.

The fishery operates under a Total Allowable Catch that is calculated by the Haida Fisheries Program from summer beach surveys of abundance. Both a category “Z-2” clam licence and a Fisher’s Registration Card (FRC) are required to participate in commercially harvesting razor clams. Other management measures include a minimum ninety (90) millimetre through the greatest breadth of the shell size limit and a restriction to hand digging only.

The fishery is managed in-season based on the days when the tide level is 5.5 feet and under, based on the Prince Rupert tide tables. Participants and licensees harvest only in Clam Licence Area A (Pacific Fishery Management Subarea 1-5 and a portion of Subarea 102-1).

Haida fishing for food, social and ceremonial (FSC) purposes is open throughout the year depending on biotoxin monitoring results. There is no daily, possession, or size limit for razor clams harvested in the Haida non-commercial (FSC) fishery.

The recreational fishery for Razor clams is restricted to a daily limit of 50 clams and a total possession limit of 100 clams. There is no size limit for razor clams harvested recreationally.

Stock Assessment, Science & Traditional Knowledge

The Haida Fisheries Program has conducted standardized surveys of the beach since 1994. Catch ceilings are determined through use of a maximum harvest rate of 22% For more information see, Estimation of reference points and a precautionary harvest strategy for the razor clam (Siliqua patula) fishery at Haida Gwaii [Jones et al. 2009, document to be numbered] for details.

The commercial fishery annual catch ceiling is established pre-season as a sum of the individual beach catch ceilings. Harvesters are requested to report landings by beach section, but to date, there has not been a need to close individual beach sections in-season once their associated catch ceilings have been reached.

Shellfish were an important food and trade item for coastal First Nations and were used fresh or preserved by drying. The razor clam fishery is currently managed jointly between the CHN and DFO through a Razor Clam Subagreement first signed on August 14, 1994 and renewed annually.

Economic, Social, Cultural Importance

Most commercially harvested razor clams are used as bait in the crab fishery. Catches have fluctuated over the years due to changes in biomass and market demand. Poor markets, a high Canadian dollar, and a downturn in the commercial crab fishery in 2007 had significant impacts on this fishery. In 2015, the TAC was not fully harvested due to low effort from fishermen. The average price varies around $1/lb., but there was a doubling of the price to $2/lb. in late 2015 due to increasing demand and low supply.

Shared Stewardship Arrangements

The razor clam fishery is currently managed jointly between the CHN and DFO. In addition to providing beach surveys, the Haida Fisheries Program provides biotoxin monitoring on a year round basis. They also forward catch and effort data on a regular basis to the Department on behalf of all participants and licensees and monitor the catch and effort each month and in collaboration with DFO.

Environment Canada conducts water quality surveys to assess the sanitary conditions in shellfish growing waters.

Governance Process

The Razor Clam In-Season Management Committee has membership from the Razor Clam Diggers Association, CHN, Old Massett Village Council, DFO (Resource Management, Conservation and Protection), and Masset razor clam processors, and meets several times a year in order to set the annual quota, opening times, and address other management issues.

Access and Allocations

The Minister can, for reasons of conservation or for any other any other valid reasons, modify access, allocations and sharing arrangements outlined in this Plan in accordance with the powers granted pursuant to the Fisheries Act.

The commercial fishery is managed through a TAC, limited entry licensing, and a size limit. There have been no limits placed on First Nations’ harvest for food, social and ceremonial purposes.

The recreational fishery for Razor clams is restricted to a daily limit of 50 clams and a total possession limit of 100 clams, gear is limited to hand digging only.

Management of the Fishery

# Management Issue Objectives Management Measure
1 Haida food, social and ceremonial and commercial razor clam harvesters have expressed concern over the effort by recreational diggers on clam stocks on North Beach. To meet conservation objectives and ensure healthy and productive fisheries and ecosystems. Since 2005 creel surveys have been conducted by Haida Fisheries Program staff during the June to August period to estimate catch. These studies indicate that recreational catch has been less than 1,000 pounds annually from North Beach 1 and 2. Discussions between the Haida Joint Shellfish Technical Committee and the Razor Clam Diggers Association with the Haida Gwaii Sport Fishery Advisory Board on further monitoring and managing of the recreational fishing effort in Subarea 1-5.
2 Market conditions for the commercial fishery.

To manage fisheries to provide opportunities for economic prosperity.

To consider the goals of stakeholders with respect to social, cultural and economic value of the fishery.

All aspects of the fishery, including pre-season planning, quota and threshold establishment, and postseason review, are discussed at Haida Joint Shellfish Technical Committee meetings held annually.
3 Vehicle traffic at low tide To educate the public that operating a motor vehicle at the 5.5ft tide level and below could result in mortality of juvenile clams that are close to the surface. A North Beach Stewardship Education plan will be initiated by Haida Fisheries.

Compliance Plan

DFO has the responsibility to enforce the Fisheries Act and associated regulations, to address conservation, health and safety issues and to maintain proper management and control of the various fisheries. Conservation and Protection will often post opening and closure notices at the kiosk at the beach entrance. Recreational fishery regulations are outlined in the British Columbia Tidal Waters Sport Fishing Guide.

Performance Review & Plan Enhancement

All aspects of the fishery, including pre-season planning, quota and threshold establishment, and post-season review, are discussed at Haida Joint Shellfish Technical Committee meetings held annually.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada Contact

For additional information on this IFMP Summary or to request an electronic version of the full IFMP, please contact Steven Groves at 250-627-3455 or
steven.groves@dfo-mpo.gc.ca