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Shellfish safety tips

Release date: April 2020
Infographic: Shellfish safety tips
Description: Shellfish safety tips

Shellfish, such as oysters, clams, scallops, mussels and cockles, feed on microscopic plankton in the water. Changes in water quality can cause bacteria, biotoxins or viruses to build up in shellfish tissue and make those who eat it sick

Contaminated shellfish do not necessarily smell, taste or look different than uncontaminated shellfish

Only harvest in open areas

Before harvesting shellfish, check that an area is open and shellfish are safe to eat:

It is dangerous and illegal to harvest shellfish in prohibited areas. Prohibited areas are:

  • 125 metres (440 feet) or less from a wharf, aquaculture operation or floating accommodation
  • 300 metres (1,000 feet) or less from sources of pollution, sewage or wastewater treatment plant

Always harvest at the water’s edge when the tide is going out.

When in doubt, don't harvest!

Keep your shellfish cold

  • Keep your shellfish cooled between 0°C and 4°C (32 to 40°F) at all times
  • Use a clean and open container with ice packs
  • Keep the container in the shade or under wet burlap
  • Never keep shellfish in a sealed container or in freshwater as they will suffocate and die
  • Do not mix different species of shellfish or fish

If you feel sick, call your doctor!

More information

Learn more about shellfish safety

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