2022-2024 joint management plan summary, razor clam (Siliqua patula) fishing Subarea 1-5 and a portion of Subarea 102-1
The purpose of this Joint Fisheries Management Plan (JMP) summary is to provide a brief overview of the information found in the full JMP. 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 JMP provides a common understanding of the basic “rules” for the sustainable management of the fisheries resource. The full JMP is available on request.
This JMP summary is not a legally binding instrument which can form the basis of a legal challenge. The JMP 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 JMP in accordance with the powers granted pursuant to the Fisheries Act.
Where DFO is responsible for implementing obligations under land claims agreements, the JMP will be implemented in a manner consistent with these obligations. In the event that an JMP is inconsistent with obligations under land claims agreements, the provisions of the land claims agreements will prevail to the extent of the inconsistency.
On this page
- General overview / introduction and map
- Stock assessment, science & traditional knowledge
- Economic, social, cultural importance
- Shared stewardship arrangements
- Governance process
- Access and allocations
- Management of the fishery
- Compliance Plan
- Performance review and plan enhancement
- Fisheries and Oceans Canada contact
General overview/introduction and map
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 typically opens in early March and closes December 31st or when the annual catch ceiling has been reached. The fishery may also close in the event of gaps in biotoxin sampling or 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 (TAC) 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) or non-transferable designation card from the CHN 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.
When open, the commercial 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). The commercial fishery has been closed since the 2019-20 season.
When open, the recreational fishery for Razor clams is restricted to a daily limit of 25 clams and a total possession limit of 50 clams. There is no size limit for Razor Clams harvested recreationally. The recreational fishery has been closed since the 2020-21 season.
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.
For the 2022-23 season, the commercial and recreational fisheries continue to be closed as stock assessment from 2021 surveys indicates that pre-season biomass estimates are below the Limit Reference Point (LRP) and in the Critical Zone. The FSC fishery remains open for the 2022-23 season.
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 as part of a Comprehensive Fisheries Agreement.
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. Stock decline was seen in the preseason biomass estimate in 2019 and this stock has not supported a commercial harvest since that time.
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.
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 as needed 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 FSC purposes.
The commercial and recreational fisheries for Razor clams have been closed as stock assessment indicates that pre-season biomass estimates are below the Limit Reference Point (LRP) and in the Critical Zone.
Management of the fishery
|#||Management issue||Objectives||Management measure|
|1||Haida FSC and commercial razor clam harvesters 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.||Creel surveys were 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.|
|2||Market conditions for the commercialfishery.||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 post-season review, are discussed at Haida Joint Shellfish Technical Committee meetings.|
|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 has been discussed for initiation by Haida Fisheries.|
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.
Fisheries and Oceans Canada contact
For additional information on this JMP summary or to request an electronic version of the full Plan, please contact Coral Cargill at 250-627-3021 or Coral.Cargill@dfo-mpo.gc.ca
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