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Geoduck Nets from the Seabed
General News · 8th January 2007
SOS - Save Our Shores
The winter storms between Christmas & New Years delivered more Geoduck nets from experimental farms around Cortes. Several nets, hundreds of feet long, tangled in the driftwood, are now littering public beaches.

This is the beginning of what we can expect to find on our beaches. Once the proposed Geoduck Farms are approved, the existing wild geoduck beds will be “purged” with a pre-seeding harvest, according to this government website:

This process allows commercial geoduck divers to harvest all the wild geoducks found within the farm zones, BEFORE the applicants re-plant the area with nursery grown stock.

An unfortunate side effect according to eyewitnesses -- beaches covered with dead and dying baby geoducks, apparently dislodged or accidentally killed by high-pressure waterjet blasting during the harvest.

The government recommends that the purge, “be conducted in one season between the months of March to September, during the optimum time for geoduck shows.”

Unfortunately, spring and summer are also the optimum time for islanders and tourists to show up on the beaches. Where they will find dive boats & supply boats & packing vessels working the shoreline with idling engines and noise generating equipment in waters as shallow as 30-feet.

At the Geoduck Public Meeting last July, we were told that depending on geoduck densities and the weather, it will take 1 or 2 months just to harvest EACH single hectare.

Multiply the potential 2 months of disruption by the proposed 20-hectare Cortes farm; the result is 40 months of potential noise just for the Purging Phase. Disrupting residential neighbourhoods, tourist accommodations, public beaches, and endangered species.

If the first Geoduck Farms get approved, then there will likely be many more farms surrounding the islands of Cortes, Marina, Quadra, Hernando, Savary, Denman, Trail, Nelson, Hardy, Jervis Inlet, the Sunshine Coast and Vancouver Island.

If you have concerns, then now is the time to e-mail or write your MLA & send a copy to your Regional Director too:

Claire Trevena (MLA, North Island)
Email =
OR fax 250-287-5105

Jenny Hiebert (Cortes Area Director)
Email =
OR fax 935-6488

For more information on proposed geoduck farming around Cortes, please click on the archived link below.
Seascape with Geoduck Nets
Seascape with Geoduck Nets
Driftwood Tangled with Geoduck Nets
Driftwood Tangled with Geoduck Nets
More Geoduck Debris Littering Cortes Beaches
More Geoduck Debris Littering Cortes Beaches
Geoduck Commercial Fishing
Comment by Michelle James on 18th January 2007
The January 8 posting on this web site contains a lot of mis-information about the nature of commercial geoduck fishing and it's impact on the environment and juvenile geoducks - so much so that there isn't room in this comment space to correct it all. I would simply ask that readers of this web site have a look at the Underwater Harvesters Association web site - google our name since we can't put a web link here. If you have high speed internet, look at the film which includes harvesting footage.
Geoduck Nets Cleaned Up
Comment by Michelle James on 18th January 2007
All of the geoduck predator protection netting that washed on shore on Cortes Island and was reported in this web site on January 8, 2007 was removed by our crews on January 12 and 13. We appreciate knowing when this happens so that we can clean it up - the winter storms in December have resulted in significant damage to this coast, including our wild geoduck enhancement operations. All of the mesh, including the mesh that was protecting the geoducks in the ocean, has now been removed. If for some reason more is washed ashore, please contact us.

Michelle James
Executive Director
Underwater Harvesters Association
(604) 734-5929
Comment by David Shipway on 13th January 2007
Thanks for posting the article and pix on Tideline. It's one thing to have to deal with reams of tangled plastic on the beaches, but the nuking of native geoducks prior to "planting the crop" troubles me even more. I don't know of any legitimate biological reason for this, unless they plan to plant non-native species that would be at risk of cross-breeding with the indigenous variety. I also don't know of any other aquaculture system that goes to this extreme of total genocide prior to startup. So if true, this seems like a very significant aquaculture story that deserves wider publicity. After all, the primary conflict in salmon aquaculture is between the prosperity of native and non-native salmon, side by side. Just imagine if a salmon farmer was given the right to eradicate any wild run that used the same stretch of water!
This is Nuts !
Comment by Brent Morrow on 9th January 2007
The provincial government is pushing the geoduck industry onto miles of our shoreline whether the locals want it or not. And the person trying to secure a 20-30 year lease on the beach south of Squirrel Cove is threatening anybody who objects with lawsuits. Hopefully more people will object when they realize the folly of allowing this unproven and destructive industry to despoil the pristine beaches at the entrance to Desolation Sound. The plastic litter on the beach is just the tip of the iceberg. What is potentially far worse is the desertification of the subtidal zone through erosion associated with harvesting methods. Call or write your MLA, the premier and the media and demand a stop to this madness !