Scallop by trawl, Pacific Region 2017/2018
Integrated Fisheries Management Plan summary

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.

R. Reid , Regional Director General

General overview / introduction - IFMP Section 1

Pink and Spiny Scallop
Pink and Spiny Scallop (Chlamys spp.)

Two species of scallops, Pink Scallop (Chlamys rubida) and Spiny Scallop (Chlamys hastata) are harvested from in-shore waters in the trawl fishery. The Pink and Spiny Scallop fisheries began in 1982 and Experimental or Exploratory Guidelines for the fisheries have been in place since 2000.

The scallop fishery began under a commercial ZI licence that allowed for harvest of both Pink and Spiny Scallops by dive and trawl gear. In 1993, the dive and trawl fisheries were split. The dive fishery continued under the ZI licence and a separate licence category, ZR, was created for the trawl fishery. There was no limit to the number of licences issued annually in either fishery.

The Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Canada discontinued the commercial scallop fisheries following the 1999 fishing season because the fisheries were data-limited with few management controls.

Since 2000, there has been a limited experimental harvest of Pink and Spiny Scallops by a small number of harvesters. In 2001, this experimental fishery was developed as part of DFO’s New Emerging Fisheries Policy (NEFP) that allows gradual expansion of the fishery in order to develop a biologically-based assessment and management framework. The NEFP is precautionary in its approach to the development of new fisheries and thus harvests are relatively small-scale. Generally new fisheries development follows three stages – feasibility, exploratory and commercial. More detailed information can be found here.

Scientific advice from the experimental fisheries has been compiled in various reports. These are available from the CSAS internet site.

In early 2016, the Regional Director General approved this IFMP for commercial licensing.

The recreational and First Nations fisheries are more recently developed. A British Columbia Tidal Waters Sport Fishing Licence is required for the recreational harvest of all species of fish, including shellfish. Crabs, prawns and shrimp, clams and oysters are the main species of shellfish harvested. The recreational scallop fishery is an open entry fishery with a daily bag limit and two-day possession limit. There is no size limit. A recreational scallop fishery may occur coast-wide where areas are open for harvest under the Canadian Shellfish Sanitation Program (CSSP, see Section 5.5 of the IFMP).

First Nations’ harvest for food, social and ceremonial purposes may occur where authorized by an aboriginal communal licence or, under treaty, a harvest document. Fifty-four communal licences and 3 harvest documents may be issued annually in the Pacific Region including harvest for a number of shellfish species. Food, social and ceremonial harvest is not currently limited by catch quantity, except in those Nations where the Council or fisheries Program has established their own catch limits for band members, or where allocated under treaty. An FSC scallop fishery may occur coast-wide where areas are open for harvest under the Canadian Shellfish Sanitation Program (CSSP, see Section 5.5 of the IFMP).

Stock assessment, science and traditional knowledge - IFMP section 2

Scallop trawl biomass surveys are conducted in collaboration with the West Coast Scallop Harvesters Association. Estimates of biomass are based on fishery independent surveys of known harvestable populations of Pink and Spiny Scallops on a bed-by-bed basis. Although assessment on a larger scale is desirable due to the limited resources available for estimating biomass, a consistent time series of biomass surveys and biological data from a variety of areas is necessary to investigate whether changes in biomass and populations dynamics appear correlated between different areas.

Economic profile of the fishery - IFMP section 3

Please refer to the IFMP for references cited in this Section.

Commercial fishery

In recent years up to seven licences have been issued annually, with three licences active. Landings have been in the order of 25,000 to 35,000 lb/year.

There is little or no information that can be provided publicly about the fishery at this time as the participation has been low and the data is protected by confidentiality policies. Future IFMPs will include an expanded summary of the history and current economic state of the commercial fishery.

The Scallop by Trawl fishery is market-driven. To date there has been limited participation in the fishery. As the regularity of harvest increases, it is expected that the market for the scallops will increase.

Recreational fishery

Recreational fishing may occur to provide food for personal use, as a leisure activity, or as a combination of the two. The recreational community includes local residents, multi-species charter operators and lodges, and visiting anglers and boaters. Of the roughly one quarter of a million anglers fishing in BC’s tidal waters , the vast majority (74%) are BC residents, with the remainder divided between Canadians from outside BC (12%) and visitors to Canada (14%) (Fisheries and Oceans Canada 2012). These activities provide a range of social, cultural, and health benefits to the participants as well as contribute directly and indirectly to economic activity.

The Tidal Waters licence includes access to numerous species, so the number of recreational harvesters taking advantage of the bag limit for scallops is unknown. In 2010, 677,253 angler days (33% of the total angler days) were spent harvesting shellfish, most (96%) by BC residents. Crabs, prawns and shrimp, clams and oysters are the main species of shellfish harvested (Fisheries and Oceans Canada 2012; surveys are conducted every 5 years).

First Nations

The Allocation Transfer Program (ATP) and Pacific Integrated Commercial Fishery Initiative (PICFI) have relinquished existing commercial licence eligibilities from fish harvesters on a voluntary basis and re-issued these to eligible First Nation organizations as communal commercial licences. To date, experimental scallop licences have not been available through these programs.

Access and allocation - IFMP section 6

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

The commercial fishery operates under the licensing term “priority-access” (as opposed to limited entry) meaning permanent licence eligibility is not currently established (see Section 1.3). In addition there are area closures, gear and fishing depth limitations, minimum size limits, and requirements to conduct fishery-independent surveys of biomass in all fished areas.

The recreational daily limit for Pink and Spiny Scallops combined is 75 per day. The possession limit is two-times the daily limit.

To date, few limits have been placed on First Nations’ harvest for food, social and ceremonial purposes. Scallops may be allocated under treaty, but were unallocated under the Maa-nulth, Tsawwassen, Tla’amin (Sliammon) and Nisga’a Treaties.

Scientific licence requests received from scientific, educational, and public display institutions, including biological collecting firms, are considered. Existing policies with respect to scientific licences and new policies on the use-of-fish apply.

Shared stewardship arrangements - IFMP section 8

Industry members and/or their association are responsible for coordinating all biomass surveys, while following Departmental methodology and data transfer protocols. Vessel owners/licence eligibility holders are required to make arrangements with an industry-funded service provider for the delivery of in-season information to DFO as required by conditions of licence regarding monitoring, biosampling, and catch reporting.

Management issues, objectives and measures - IFMP sections 4, 5,and 7

# Management Issue Objectives Management Measure
1 Conservation and Sustainability

While there are abundance estimates for some scallop management areas, not all are assessed in a consistent fashion. This lack of stock assessment information is an ongoing issue, hampers the Department’s ability to monitor the status of populations, and limits the commercial industry’s opportunity to expand.
DFO’s objective is:
  • To develop an understanding of the stock distribution and abundance of Pink and Spiny Scallops and to establish scallop management and assessment units.
  • To collect biological information, including age, growth and mortality data, for use in the development of biologically based assessment and management frameworks for Pink and Spiny Scallops.
  • To develop and establish Precautionary Approach compliant reference points and harvest control rules for Pink and Spiny Scallops under the Sustainable Fisheries Framework Policy.
It is not currently practical to assess every scallop bed in British Columbia and future efforts may be required to explore options for alternative assessment frameworks for the fishery while meeting the objectives under the Sustainable Fisheries Framework Policy.

For the interim, no expansion in the footprint of the fishing area or participation will occur without stock assessment surveys and habitat assessments.
2 Commercial Fishery

There are a number of issues impacting the economic viability of the commercial scallop fishery. These issues include the limited area permitted for harvest as a result of survey requirements, the potential loss of area as a result of the expansion of aquaculture tenures, treaty settlements and water quality concerns. The Department will work with licence eligibility holders to develop solutions to these issues and adapt the fishery accordingly. Advice from harvesters and other interested parties will continue to be considered.
DFO’s objective is to continue to work collaboratively with the commercial industry on sustainable resource use and long-term economic viability of the scallop seafood industry recognizing that commercial fisheries play a vital role in Canada's economy. This will include adapting to changing resource and market conditions and extracting optimal value from world markets. Development of fisheries in new areas, not historically fished, may be considered in future, and will follow the framework provided by Lauzier et al. (2000, 2005). Prior to any new fishing location being approved by the Department for a biomass survey or harvest opportunities, a habitat assessment of the area will be required. A new habitat assessment protocol is being developed by the Department and will require harvesters to conduct a video survey of the proposed harvest location. Fisheries Management and Fisheries Protection staff from DFO will evaluate the video to determine if trawl activity poses a risk to the benthic community.
3 Recreational Fishery

There is limited information on recreational catch and effort. Opportunity for scallop harvest is typically provided coincident with CSSP sampling for commercial purposes, and the CSSP is not implemented in all areas.
DFO’s objective is to affirm the social and economic importance of the recreational fishery, provide sustainable recreational harvesting opportunities as part of integrated management plans consistent with DFO’s policies, and to establish working mechanisms in conjunction with the other fishing sectors to reduce conflict and mitigate issues. To improve recreational fishery monitoring and catch reporting, the Internet recreational catch and effort survey (iREC) was made mandatory in April of 2013. In 2016, iREC will continue to randomly request, (via email) licence holder activity and catch information.
4 First Nations Fishery

There is limited information on food, social, ceremonial harvests.

Opportunity for scallop harvest is typically provided coincident with Canadian Shellfish Sanitation Program (CSSP) sampling for commercial purposes, and the CSSP is not implemented in all areas.
DFO’s objective is to continue to provide opportunities for First Nations to harvest fish for food, social and ceremonial purposes, in a manner consistent with the decision of the Supreme Court of Canada in R. vs. Sparrow and subsequent court decisions. The Department will continue to develop catch monitoring programs and standards in collaboration with First Nations organizations:
  • To discuss conservation, proper management and control, reasonable FSC needs, and options to meet shared interests;
  • To encourage First Nation representatives to share any issues or needs pertaining to FSC fishing in their communal areas.
  • To create an environment within the advisory process in which First Nation representatives can express their concerns and opinions at the table and to establish working mechanisms in conjunction with the other fishing sectors to reduce conflict and mitigate issues.
5 Compliance

The CSSP requires the Department to monitor and patrol all harvesting activities; however resources are becoming limited for such activities. Processing plants must be able to ensure that the commercial product they receive has been harvested legally in approved growing waters.
DFO’s objective is to pursue opportunities to monitor and enforce these fisheries, in conjunction with the monitoring and enforcement priorities in the Pacific Region. Dedicated patrols by fishery officers are the main enforcement tool for this fishery. In addition, fishery officers respond to complaints from the general public. Enforcement issues are prioritized in the Compliance Plan (Section 9).

Governance progress - IFMP section 1

The Scallop by Trawl fisheries are governed by the Fisheries Act and Regulations made thereunder.

The Scallop by Trawl Advisory Board is the primary consultative body that provides a forum for the exchange of information and views between First Nation, commercial and recreational representatives, other stakeholders and Fisheries and Oceans Canada on issues important to the management of the fishery. Fisheries and Oceans Canada, however, remains the decision making authority for the management of the fishery. The Scallop by Trawl Advisory Board meets once per year for a post-season review and pre-season planning (January).

Compliance plan - IFMP section 9

DFO Conservation and Protection pursues opportunities to monitor and enforce this fishery, in conjunction with the monitoring and enforcement priorities in the Pacific Region.

Performance review - IFMP section 10

Performance indicators are reported in the Post-Season Review (Section 16 of the IFMP).

Stock assessment, sampling and research activities are outlined. The performance review may also include outcomes from meetings with First Nations and other sectors regarding the scallop by trawl fisheries. Input from members of the Scallop by Trawl Advisory Board meetings is included. The delivery of the commercial fishery is assessed by performance measures such as the number of days fished, landed value compared to previous years, input from representatives at Scallop by Trawl Advisory Board meetings and other DFO program measures and assessments.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada contact

For additional information on this IFMP Summary or to request an electronic version of the full IFMP, please contact Juanita Rogers at 250-756-7268 or Juanita.Rogers@canada.ca