Language selection


Seasonal recreational prawn and shrimp closures in Stuart Channel, Saanich Inlet and Alberni Inlet

Recreational prawn and shrimp harvesting in B.C. is a time-honoured tradition, and we are working to protect these resources for generations to come. Seasonal restrictions relieve fishing pressures and support spawning prawns and shrimp.

Stuart Channel, Saanich Inlet and Alberni Inlet are used heavily for recreational prawn and shrimp harvesting which can significantly deplete stocks in those areas. To mitigate this, we implement prawn and shrimp pulse-fishing closures in parts of these areas for periods between Labour Day and April of each year.

Planned closures

As well as checking for planned closures, make sure that you check the area you intend to harvest for sport fishing regulations and restrictions before you head out to harvest.


Maps of potential closures

Parts or all of the following sub-areas may be closed during pulse fishing periods between September and April.

Map of Stuart Channel

Stuart Channel

Subareas 17-5, 17-6, 17-9

Map of Saanich Inlet

Saanich Inlet

Subareas 19-7 to 19-12

Map of Alberni Inlet

Alberni Inlet

Subareas 23-1 to 23-3

Spring closures

Spring closures

Spawner index sampling will begin with the commercial prawn fishery as early as the first week of May and will continue throughout the commercial fishing season. This testing helps us to understand how many female prawns are in the water. Closures are important during testing as recreational gear will become tangled in our equipment.

The following areas are closed May 14 to May 17, 2024 for spawner index testing:

For more information, see Fishery Notice FN0414.

Fall closures

Fall closures

Fall closures may occur after Labour Day weekend to spread out fall fishing efforts and increase prawn and shrimp abundance. This may allow us to extend recreational fishing opportunities.

The following areas may only allow pulse fishing:

When pulse fishing is in effect, these areas are closed on the following dates:

  • The first day after Labour Day to September 15
  • October 1 to October 15
  • November 1 to November 15
  • December 1 to December 15
  • January 1 to March 31 if tests indicate low numbers of egg-bearing females in the water
Winter closures

Winter closures

Prawns and shrimp spawn from January to March. Winter closures protect large, mature egg-bearing females as their eggs prepare to hatch, providing long-term stock sustainability. Closures apply to all prawns and shrimp regardless of species, sizes or sex as egg-bearing females may be accidentally harvested when traps are placed in the water.

Full closures

Depending on the results of fall spawner index testing, we may close the following areas from January 1 to March 31:

Partial closures with pulse fishing

Parts of Stuart Channel, Alberni Inlet and Saanich Inlet may allow pulse fishing from January to March.

When pulse fishing is in effect, these areas are closed on the following dates:

  • January 1 to January 15
  • February 1 to February 15
  • March 1 to March 15

It is open on all other dates unless otherwise noted on our Limits, openings and closures page.

Pulse fishing

Pulse fishing, which is when an area is open for part of the month and closed for the rest, may be implemented in some subareas to protect stocks by reducing the overall number of prawns harvested. Pulse fishing also spreads out fishing efforts, allowing fishing opportunities to extend later into the year.

Restrictions are determined each season through spawner index testing and are based on the number of spawning females in the water. The pulse fishing process was developed collaboratively with recreational and commercial harvesters and in agreement with local First Nations.

Spawner index testing

The spawner index is a measure of the average number of female prawns caught in a standardized prawn trap fished for a 24 hour period.

Spawner index testing is performed by commercial vessels which do the sampling under scientific licence issued by DFO. Each vessel has a DFO trained prawn observer on board. Observers undergo certification and annual training and testing.

Spawner index testing starts in the commercial fishery in the first week of May, and continues throughout the commercial fishery, resulting in commercial fishing closures if the index declines towards the management targets. After the commercial fishing season, testing will occur again in October or early November prior to prawns spawning.

Date modified: