Blue and California Mussels

Blue (Mytilus edulis) and California (Mytilus californianus) Mussels

Habitat: Inshore, found on rocks, gravel and other substrates
Size: : Blue up to 9 cm and California up to 25 cm
Description: Bluish-black oblong shells, anchored to substrates with brown byssal threads

Butter Clams

Butter Clams - (Saxidomus spp)

Source: Fisheries and Oceans Canada website

Habitat: Intertidal zone, found in protected gravel, sandy beaches
Size: Up to 13 cm
Description: Oval to round, white coloured. Concentric rings on shell

Cockles

Cockles - (Clinacardium nuttallii)

Habitat: Intertidal zone, shallowly buried fine sand-gravel beds
Size: Up to 14 cm
Description: Also known as Nuttall’s, basket or heart cockles. Yellow-brown thick shells with strong radiating wavy ribs

Geoduck

Geoduck - (Panopea spp)

Source: Art Demsky, Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Habitat: Deep intertidal zone, found in mud and sand at depth of 60 to 100 cm
Size: Shell size up to 25 cm
Description: Oblong gaping shell, rounded on one end, white colour with extended siphon

Horse Clams

Horse (or Gaper) Clams- (Tresus spp)

Source: Art Demsky, Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Habitat: Intertidal zone, found deep, 30 to 40 cm in mud, gravel, and sand
Size: Up to 20 cm
Description: Oval white coloured with brown and black patches worn off shell. Concentric rings on shell

Littleneck and Manila Clams

Littleneck(Protothaca spp) and Manila (Venerupis) Clams

Source: Art Demsky, Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Habitat: Intertidal zone, found in gravel, mud, sand at depth of 5 to 15 cm
Size: Up to 9 cm
Description: Oval to round, variable colouration. Concentric rings on shell with radiating ridges

Pacific Oysters

Pacific Oysters - (Crassostrea gigas)

Source: Fisheries and Oceans Canada website

Habitat: Intertidal zone, found in protected gravel, sandy beaches

Razor Clams

Razor Clams - (Siliqua spp)

Source: Art Demsky, Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Habitat: Intertidal zone, found in sandy beaches at depth of 15 cm
Size: Up to 15 cm
Description: Oblong shaped with brittle brown to olive coloured shell and extended siphon. Concentric rings on shell

Pink and Spiny Scallops

Pink and Spiny Scallops - (Chlamys spp)

Source: Fisheries and Oceans Canada website

Habitat: Low intertidal zone, found at depth (recreational divers)
Size: Up to 12.5 cm
Description: Radiating ribs from the hinge, with thin flattened shells, colour white to pink

Varnish (or Savory) Clams

Varnish (or Savory) Clams- (Nuttalia obscurata)

Source: Art Demsky, Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Habitat: Intertidal zone, found in protected gravel, sandy beaches
Size: Up to 7.5 cm
Description: Oval and flat, shiny brown and white coloured with purple interior shell colour. Concentric rings on shell

Weathervane Scallops

Weathervane Scallops- (Patinopecten caurinus)

Source: Alaska Department of Fish and Game

Habitat: Deep water in gravel, sandy beaches (recreational divers)
Size: Up to 20 cm
Description: Radiating ribs from the hinge, one side flat, the other bulging, colour brown to light orange/red

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Map Legend

How to use Map

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Shellfish Dictionary

  1. Navigating around

    This interactive map uses Google Maps to search, explore and find your way around. All you need to do is click and hold the left mouse button to grab onto the map and then move the mouse to pan in any direction.

    Normally your mouse cursor will look like this:

    Clicking and holding the left mouse button down will turn the mouse cursor into this:

    Once the cursor looks like this, moving your mouse will make the map view to move around

  2. Change the base map

    The default base map option is Google road map. To change the base map, click on the drop down menu at the top left of the screen. Click the check box beside Terrain to show the topographic relief and display contour lines.

    Select Satellite to view the Google satellite base map with labels. To turn the road and place name labels off, uncheck the Labels checkbox.

  3. Zooming

    The most important thing to note about zooming is that many features in this map will only show up once you are zoomed in. For example, after the map loads initially, zooming in hides the main harvest areas and labels and shows the subareas, subarea labels, sanitary closures and aboriginal lands. Zooming in further shows the aqauaculture areas. Zooming out will also show/hide features from view.

    There are three different ways to zoom the map view in and out:

    • If your mouse has a scroll wheel, then moving the wheel forwards and backwards is the most efficient way to zoom around.

    • At the bottom right of the map view, the standard Google zoom buttons can be used to zoom the map in (+) and out (-)

    • Left click your mouse on any of the Harvest Areas or Harvest Subareas to zoom in to that feature. While hovering your mouse cursor over any area the mouse cursor will change to the image to the right. When this happens the outline of the area will also change from a thin, light border to the thicker, darker border.

Area 10 is not highlighted here
Area 10 is highlighted here. If you click on this feature, the map view will zoom to the subareas in area 10.
  1. Shellfish Harvesting Areas

    Closed

    Closed to all bivalve shellfish harvesting.

    Partially Open

    At least one species, but not all shellfish species, can be harvested safely.

    Open

    No marine biotoxin closures.

    Not available

    Closure status could not be retrieved from the Fisheries and Oceans Canada website for various reasons. In most cases, the closure details are very detailed, so to ensure accuracy, it is required that the user finds information using the most authoritative source. See the Fisheries and Oceans Canada website for more information.

  2. Sanitary Areas

    Sanitary Areas

    Areas may be open or closed to all bivalve shellfish harvesting (inculding seasonal closures). Hover over sanitary area to see area details, and click to determine open or closed status (and legal description) of the sanitary area on the Fisheries and Oceans Canada website.

    In most cases, sanitary closures are smaller than shellfish harvesting subareas. If the subarea in which a sanitary closure exists does not contain any marine biotoxin closures, the area bounded by the sanitary closure is still closed to all bivalve shellfish harvesting for sanitary purposes.

  3. Harvest Area Labels

    Shellfish Harvesting Area

    Label corresponds with the shellfish harvesting area. If you click on one of these labels, the map view will zoom in and center on the harvest area.

    Shellfish Harvesting Subarea

    Label corresponds with the shellfish harvesting subarea. The number to the left of the dash (23 in this example) indicates which area the subarea is in, and the number to the right of the dash indicates the subarea number (10 in this example). To get shellfish harvesting details for this subarea, simply mouseover this label icon.

  4. Other Features

    Aboriginal Land

    Lands which are owned or managed by First Nations communities. Mouseover to find the name of a site.
    Source: Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada

    Aquaculture Sites

    Current Land Act tenures issued for shellfish aquaculture. Mouseover to find the name of the site and the crown landfile number. Search Aquaculture site number by clicking the legend item. Labels are turned on at the maximum zoom level.
    Source: Province of British Columbia - GeoBC

  1. Google Places Search

    If you know the name of the place located near a harvesting subarea of interest, begin typing the place name in this search box. As you type, Google Maps starts looking for places matching your search, providing a list of four possible matching locations. When you see the location you are looking for is in the list, either click the list item or press your down arrow key until the place name is highlighted then press enter. The map view will then zoom to the location you select.

  2. Subarea Search

    If you know the particular subarea number, scroll down to the particular number or simply type the number you are looking for. First, select the area (by default Area 1 is selected) and then the subarea number.

    Once the area-subarea combination is selected, press the Zoom button to zoom to that area. The Reset button will change the Area and Subarea dropdowns to 1 and reset the map view to the original map extent.

Biotoxin and Sanitary Contamination Closures Map for Shellfish Harvesting in British Columbia

The Biotoxin and Sanitary Contamination Closures Map for Shellfish Harvesting in British Columbia (the "Map") is a tool for public health officials and members of the public to view shellfish harvesting area data in spatial format. The Map presents information from Fisheries and Oceans Canada, and Fisheries and Oceans Canada is the authoritative source for biotoxin and sanitary contamination information. The British Columbia Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) has created this Map to present information from Fisheries and Oceans Canada in a more user friendly manner. The Map is updated daily to check for recent changes reported by Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

By accessing and using this Map, you agree to be bound by the terms of use, disclaimer and limitation of liability (“terms of use”) set out below. If you do not agree to be bound by any of these terms of use, immediately exit this website and do not access any other pages.

Terms of Use, Disclaimer and Limitation of Liability:

Any information contained in the Map is believed to be reliable when posted; however, BCCDC does not guarantee or warranty the accuracy, completeness, appropriateness or suitability of the information provided. Any reliance on any information appearing on the Map is at your own risk. BCCDC expressly disclaims all warranties, representations and conditions regarding use of any information contained in the Map. BCCDC assumes no obligation to update the information or advise on further developments concerning subject matters mentioned. The information is supplied “as is” and may contain errors. This information may be changed from time to time without notice. Certain portions of the information have been contributed by other parties and should not be assumed to have been reviewed or endorsed by BCCDC.

Neither the BCCDC nor the Provincial Health Services Authority shall have any liability whether direct, indirect, consequential, contingent, special or incidental related to or arising out of or in connection with the use of the Map or your reliance on the information contained herein.

To report any technical issues or inaccuracies with the data reported with this tool, contact BCCDC.

For more information about Shellfish Closures, please contact:

Elysha Gordon

Phone: 250-756-7192
Fax: 250-756-7162

Resource Management
Canadian Shellfish Sanitation Program (CSSP) Coordinator
DFO South Coast Division
3225 Stephenson Point Rd.
Nanaimo, BC V9T 1K3


David Fogtmann

Phone: 250-339-3799
Fax: 250-339-4612

Resource Management
DFO South Coast Division
148 Port Augusta St.
Comox, BC V9M 3N6


Michelle Rainer

Phone: 604-666-1746

Communications Advisor


Shellfish Toxin Updates

Toll free: 1-866-431-FISH (1-866-431-3474)

Recorded information
or visit your local DFO office.

Known issues:

  • Google Chrome users may experience a bug which incorrectly draws polygon fragments on the map. To fix this issue, please turn off hardware acceleration in the advanced settings of Google Chrome.

    1. Click on Google Chrome’s main menu button which is located in the top-right of the screen.
    2. Click on Settings from the context menu.
    3. At the bottom of the page, click on Show advanced settings.
    4. Scroll down, and under System, uncheck the box Use hardware acceleration when available.
    5. Click the “restart” link to restart Chrome without hardware acceleration.