SUMMER IS BREEDING SEASON! Watch for 2-year-old male prawns this season. They are breeding before becoming egg-bearing females next year! RESPECT YOUR CATCH LIMIT & SEASONAL CLOSURES.

Shellfish - Species and Limits Table

All of the Lower Mainland is closed to the harvest of bivalve molluscs.

Harvesting shellfish from clam or oyster aquaculture sites is not permitted unless permission is obtained from the tenure holder. These sites may be marked with large red concrete markers.

Species Area Daily Quota Open Times Gear Management Measures
Abalone 1 to 29 0 Closed N/A Endangered Species. Closed for conservation purposes.
Barnacles, giant 1 to 27 6 Apr 1 - Mar 31 Hand picking  
Barnacles, goose 1 to 27 2 kg Apr 1 - Mar 31 Hand picking  
Clams, all 1 to 11 0 Closed N/A Closed due to paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) concerns.
12 to 27 75 Apr 1 - Mar 31 Hand digging All species aggregate daily limit combined Areas 1 to 27 is 75. It is illegal to use any mechanical apparatus or dredge for harvesting clams. Pacific Rim National Park (Area 23) aggregate daily limit: 8 razors, 3 geoducks, 12 horse clams, 24 littleneck or Manila clams, and 0 butter clams, and maximum aggregate of all clam species is 24. Areas 28 and 29 are closed to all bivalve harvest due to contamination. Check for closures due to PSP. Details at your local DFO Office. Clam harvesters are encouraged to fill in holes to reduce predation on exposed juvenile clams.
Clam, butter 12 to 27 25 Apr 1 - Mar 31 Hand digging
Clam, horse 12 to 27 6 Apr 1 - Mar 31 Hand digging
Clam, littleneck 12 to 27 75 Apr 1 - Mar 31 Hand digging
Clam, Manila 12 to 27 75 Apr 1 - Mar 31 Hand digging
Clam, softshell 12 to 27 25 Apr 1 - Mar 31 Hand digging
Clam, varnish 12 to 27 75 Apr 1 - Mar 31 Hand picking
Clam, razor Subarea 1-5 50 Apr 1 - Mar 31 Hand digging Waters of McIntyre Bay on Haida Gwaii.
12 to 27 12 Apr 1 - Mar 31 Hand digging Areas 28 and 29 are closed to all bivalve harvest due to contamination.
Cockles 1 to 11 0 Closed N/A Closed due to PSP concerns. Details at your local DFO Office.
12 to 27 25 Apr 1 - Mar 31 Hand digging & picking Areas 28 and 29 are closed to all bivalve harvest due to contamination.
Geoduck 1 to 11 0 Closed N/A Closed due to PSP concerns. Details at your local DFO Office.
12 to 27 3 Apr 1 - Mar 31 Hand digging & picking Areas 28 and 29 are closed to all bivalve harvest due to contamination.
Limpet/Whelk 1 to 27 75 Apr 1 - Mar 31 Hand picking Subject to PSP or contamination closures. Details at your local DFO Office.
Mussel, blue 1 to 11 0 Closed N/A Closed due to PSP concerns. Details at your local DFO Office.
12 to 27 75 Apr 1 - Mar 31 Hand picking All species aggregate daily limit combined. Pacific Rim National Park (Area 23) daily limit:12. Areas 28 and 29 are closed to all bivalve harvest due to contamination. Combined aggregate daily limit of all mussel species is 75.
Mussel, California 1 to 11 0 Closed N/A Closed due to PSP concerns. Details at your local DFO Office.
12 to 27 25 Apr 1 - Mar 31 Hand picking Pacific Rim National Park (Area 23) daily limit: 12. Combined aggregate daily limit of all mussel species is 75. Areas 28 and 29 are closed to all bivalve harvest due to contamination.
Crab, all Species Combined 1 to 10, 21 to 27 6 Apr 1 - Mar 31 Maximum of 2 ring nets, dip nets or traps or combination of these per fisher. Ensure gear is properly marked. Hand picking is permitted, including by diving. No sharp-pointed instruments are permitted for harvesting crab. It is illegal to use snares in catching or attempting to catch crabs. Maximum aggregate (combined total) daily limits are in place and include individual limits on those species listed below, excluding shore crab.
Crab gear

Note: The possession limit for all crab species is 2x the daily limit.
11 to 20, 28, 29 4 Apr 1 - Mar 31
Crab, Alaska King 1 to 10, 21 to 27 2 Apr 1 - Mar 31

Aggregate daily limit of Dungeness, red rock, box, Puget Sound and Alaska king in Areas 1-10 and 21-27 is 6; and in Areas 11-20, 28 and 29 is 4.

Minimum size limit for Dungeness crab is 165 mm measured across the widest breadth of the shell.

Minimum size limit for red rock crab is 115 mm measured across the widest breadth of the shell.

It is prohibited to possess female Dungeness and red rock crabs.

In order to be accurately measured, the carapace of Dungeness crab and red rock crab that you catch must remain attached until the crab arrives at your residence or it is consumed.

Crab gear

Area specific measures:

  • Area 12 Nimpkish Estuary Special Management Area:
    • From Jun 15 to Sep 14, the daily limit for all crab species (other than King or Box crab) is reduced to two.
    • Only dip nets, ring nets or hand picking is permitted to harvest crab in this area at this time.
  • Area 16 Pender Harbour it is prohibited to use any gear other than ring nets or dip nets.
  • Area 19, Sidney/Cordova Channel Advisory:
    • Use 27 cm diametre (or larger) brightly coloured buoys in Sidney and Cordova Channels, an area bounded on the south by a line from Cowichan Head to D’Arcy Shoals to the southernmost point of Sidney Island. The northern boundary extends from a point on the Saanich Peninsula shoreline due east to the light on the north end of James Island, east to northeasterly to the light on the U2 navigation buoy in Sidney Channel, then true east to Sidney Island.
    • Larger buoys are being tested by both commercial and recreational crab fishers in these channels to improve visibility.
  • Areas 28: It is prohibited to fish for crabs from one hour after sunset to one hour before sunrise each day. See Area page for closure map.
  • Area 28-8 is closed to fishing.
  • Area 29: There is no fishing for crab in the area around the Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal and Deltaport. See Area page for closure map.
  • Check Area pages for Crab Hepatopancreas Consumption Advisories


11 to 20, 28, 29 0 Closed
Crab, box and Puget Sound king 1 to 29 1 Apr 1 - Mar 31
Crab, Dungeness 1 to 10, 21 to 27 6 Apr 1 - Mar 31
11 to 20, 28, 29 4 Apr 1 - Mar 31
Crab, red rock 1 to 10, 21 to 27 6 Apr 1 - Mar 31
11 to 20, 28, 29 4 Apr 1 - Mar 31
Crab, shore 1 to 27 75 Apr 1 - Mar 31
28 and 29 0 Closed
Crab, other 1 to 29 4 Apr 1 - Mar 31
Octopus 1 to 29 1 Apr 1 - Mar 31 Trap, hook and line, diving and hand picking Use of sharp-pointed instruments, snares, hand pumps and chemicals is prohibited.
Oyster, Olympia 1 to 29 0 Closed N/A To avoid inadvertently harvesting Olympia oysters while you are harvesting Pacific oysters, do not harvest any oyster less than 5 cm in diameter.
Oyster, Pacific 1 to 11 0 Closed N/A Closed due to PSP concerns. Details at your local DFO Office.
12 to 27 15 in the shell of 1/2 litre shucked Apr 1 - Mar 31 Hand picking Daily limit for oysters can be either shelled or shucked (unshelled), but not both. Harvesters are encouraged to shuck oysters on the beach and leave the shells there, or return oyster shells to the beach from where you collected them whenever possible. In order to avoid the transfer of European green crab, please dispose of any oyster shell harvested from the west coast of Vancouver Island back to the beach from where it came or with your household garbage. Consult your local DFO Office. You will need permission to harvest oysters from marked oyster farms. Areas 28 and 29 are closed to all bivalve harvest due to contamination.
Prawn / Shrimp         See Shrimp/Prawn
Scallop, all species 1 to 11 0 Closed N/A Closed due to PSP concerns. See special limit on weathervane scallops in Subarea 1-5. Details at your local DFO Office.
Scallop, Pink and Spiny 12 to 27 75 Apr 1 - Mar 31 Hand picking, diving Areas 28 and 29 are closed to all bivalve harvest due to contamination.
Scallop, rock 12 to 27 6 Apr 1 - Mar 31 Hand picking, diving Areas 28 and 29 are closed to all bivalve harvest due to contamination.
Scallop, Weathervane Subarea 1-5 100 Apr 1-Mar 31 Hand picking, diving Within the waters of McIntyre Bay, Queen Charlotte Islands. Other portions of Areas 1 to 11 are closed for all species of scallop.
12 to 27 6 Apr 1 - Mar 31 Hand picking, diving Areas 28 and 29 are closed to all bivalve harvest due to contamination.
Sea Cucumber 1 to 29 12 Apr 1 - Mar 31 Hand picking, diving  
Snail, moon 1 to 29 2 Apr 1 - Mar 31 Hand picking Moon snails may be subject to PSP, check for closures. Consult your local DFO office for details.
Sea Urchin 1 to 29 12 Apr 1 - Mar 31 Hand picking, diving  
Shrimp/Prawn 1 to 29 200 Apr 1 - Mar 31 Harvest by spear, ring net or trap.
Shrimp/Prawn gear
You may harvest dock shrimp by spear when diving. Maximum of 4 traps or ring nets or combination of these per fisher. The release of female prawns carrying eggs is encouraged for conservation. Some areas may experience in-season closures - please see our Prawn and Shrimp Closures page for in-season changes.
13,15-17, 19, 23, 25 and 28 In Saanich Inlet, Stuart Channel and Alberni Inlet, “pulse” fishing may be implemented after Labour Day weekend to increase prawn escapement and prawn abundance. Closures may be implemented January 1 to March 31 in waters around Quadra and Cortes Islands; the communities of Powell River and Lund; Sechelt and Salmon Inlets; Malaspina and lower Jervis Straits, Stuart Channel, Saanich Inlet, Alberni Inlet, Tahsis Inlet, Muchalat Inlet and Howe Sound, to allow the prawn spawning cycle to complete. Confirmation of these closures are made in-season. Please see our Prawn and Shrimp Closures page for in-season changes.
Shrimp/Prawn gear
Shrimp, ghost 1 to 29, except 29-8 50 Apr 1 - Mar 31 Hand digging, hand pump Species is also known as sand shrimp. There is no fishing for ghost shrimp in Subarea 29-8 from May 1 to August 31st annually.
29-8 50 Apr 1 - Apr 30 Sep1 - Mar 31
Sand Dollar 1 to 29 6 Apr 1 - Mar 31 Hand picking  
Sea star, starfish 1 to 29 6 Apr 1 - Mar 31 Hand picking  
Squid, Opal 1 to 29 200 Apr 1 - Mar 31 Cast net, jigging  
Squid, all other species 1 to 29 20 Apr 1 - Mar 31 Cast net, jigging This includes Humboldt squid and neon flying squid in the aggregate.
Other species 1 to 29 20 Apr 1 - Mar 31 Various The daily limit is per individual species not already listed in this guide.

Note:

The same management measures apply to offshore waters as the corresponding inshore waters (eg: limits in 23 apply to 123) unless otherwise stated.