Summary – American oyster

Introduction

This American oyster integrated fishery management plan concerns the commercial fishery (including fishing in contaminated areas) and the subsistence fishery (Aboriginal) of American oyster (Crassostrea virginica). It also includes oyster farming activities managed by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO). DFO’s role with respect to aquaculture is described in section 1.4.3. There is no recreational oyster fishery in the Eastern New Brunswick Area.

This plan applies to the Eastern New Brunswick Area within statistical districts 63 to 80 (Appendix 1) and covers the period from 2009 to 2012 inclusively. It is designed for joint implementation with an annual update in which specific management measures concerned with harvesting – in particular fishing areas, seasons and catch limits – can be adjusted to suit conservation imperatives. Its objectives are sustainable development through a precautionary and ecosystem-based approach, as well as integrated co-management in the spirit of the Oceans Act, the Fisheries Act and associated Department of Fisheries and Oceans policies.

Background

New Brunswick oysters have been harvested for over a century. Many species of shellfish, including soft-shell clams, mussels, quahogs and American oysters are harvested in the Gulf Region. Oyster is the second most profitable bivalve in terms of landed value, and of employment in the Gulf Region.

Following the ravages of Malpeque disease, which decimated most oyster stocks in the Maritimes, landings hit a historical low of only 2.7 tonnes in 1960. Government initiatives to rebuild the oyster populations included the seeding of public beds with disease-resistant oysters and the granting of leases bordering on public beds. The massive seeding of disease-resistant oysters enabled some growing areas to recover in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Landings since 1960 show an upward trend, although short-term fluctuations are considerable. Some of this increase is attributable to the development of farming since the early seventies.

In the Maritimes, American oysters are harvested from natural or public beds or growing areas and from private leased areas.  Tidal waters not occupied by leased areas constitute the public area where public oyster beds are to be found. Oysters does not reproduce north of Caraquet Bay, but are deposited in these waters as spat by the action of the currents.  These growing areas are a resource owned by the community.

Note:

Summary – American oyster can be downloaded as a full version document in PDF: Integrated American Oyster Crassostrea virginica Fishery Management Plan 2009-2012 [PDF - 1,282 KB]

To obtain a copy of the report, please send an email to DFO Gulf Region at infogolfe.glf@dfo-mpo.gc.ca