Bivalve shellfish contamination closures in BC
Harvesting and eating BC bivalve shellfish is a time-honoured tradition, but it must be done safely. It is both illegal and unsafe to harvest shellfish from a closed area. Eating contaminated shellfish can make you very sick and can even be life-threatening.
Bivalve shellfish have 2 hinged shells and include clams, oysters, scallops, mussels and more. They are highly sensitive to the water quality of their marine environment. Because they feed by filtering microscopic organisms from the water, harmful bacteria, viruses and marine biotoxins from their surroundings can build up in their tissues and make the people who eat them sick.
Contaminated shellfish do not necessarily smell, taste or look different than uncontaminated shellfish, and cooking shellfish does not destroy all biotoxins.
Harvesting closures change often throughout the year for conservation or public health reasons. This means that you must check to see if the species and area you wish to harvest in is legally open for harvesting, every time you head out to fish.
Where are you planning to harvest?
Click on the links in the table below for the area you are planning to harvest or our real-time bivalve shellfish safety harvesting map to ensure that it's safe to harvest.
If you are harvesting for recreational purposes, remember to check the current sport fishing regulations to make sure that it is not only safe, but legal to harvest in that area.
- Realtime bivalve shellfish safety harvesting map
- Information about recreational shellfish harvesting in BC
- Shellfish harvesting safety information
- Planned bivalve shellfish harvesting closures
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