Barkley Aquaculture OVERVIEWThe Vancouver Island Summary Land Use Plan identified the following aquaculture uses and potential in the Barkley region:
- Upper Alberni Inlet is not recommended for salmon culture, however, lower Alberni Inlet is moderately suitable and San Mateo Bay is an area of good capability for both salmon and shellfish
- Uchuchlesit Inlet is rated as moderately suitable for clam culture
- There are highly capable areas for salmon culture particularly in Effingham, Pipestream and Useless Inlet, and surrounding the Deer Group Islands
- numerous shellfish culture sites particularly concentrated in Useless Inlet
- there is good clam and oyster capability on the Maggie River beaches in Loudoun Channel and in Roquefeuil Bay and Bamfield Inlet
- Poett Nook and upper Effingham is rated good for clam culture
- Barkley Sound outer coast is currently rated as not acceptable for finfish culture and no aquaculture tenures exist
Shellfish aquaculture shows significant opportunity for industry expansion, particularly in Barkley and Clayoquot Sounds. The culture and farming of shellfish (primarily oysters, mussels, scallops and to a lesser extent, clams) has recently surpassed the economic importance of the wild harvest for the region. There are currently 68 shellfish tenures in Clayoquot and Barkley Sounds, held by 47 individuals or companies. Leases occupy approximately 293 hectares of the marine and foreshore area. At present, Pacific oysters (principally for the shuck market but increasingly for the 1/2 shell market) are the predominate species grown, with Manila clams a distant second.
The Nuu-chah-nulth Shellfish Development Corporation, established in February 2003, oversees the development of pilot shellfish sites in Useless Inlet established in Toquot and Uchucklesaht as well as the first commercial enterprise in Lemmens Inlet, owned by the Tla-o-qui-aht Nation. Lemmen's inlet, with nine active tenures, is the most concentrated production site in the region.
A challenge to local producers is the lack of shellfish processing capacity on the west coast. Several initiatives are underway to address this issue. Revenues from the shellfish aquaculture sector in the combined Barkley/Clayoquot region are projected to increase from 2.5 million in 2003 to 5.5 million dollars by 2008. More info
Bamfield Huu-ay-aht Community Abalone Project
The goal of this project is to replenish wild abalone populations and to remove it from its threatened status. The project includes a hatchery and grow-out facility to breed and raise abalone for reintroduction into the wild. Studies are underway to calculate the quantity and quality of abalone in study sites in and around Bamfield, and discover where assistance is most needed for their rehabilitation. The project also focuses on public education and awareness campaigns to increase support for the re-establishment of this threatened species. More info
Also, the BHCAP has developed Coast Watch, a program to get locals involved in abalone protection at study sites near Bamfield and throughout Barkley Sound.
Survey of Northern Abalone Populations in East Eagle Bay (Scott's Bay), Barkley Sound, February/ March 2002 (pdf). Evidence suggests that Eagle Bay historically supported abundant abalone. This area was identified by the BHCAP as a possible candidate site for outplanting abalone due to the ease of access, the potential protection against poaching under a Coastwatch Program and the greater degree of physical protection compared to other sites for conducting diving work associated with outplanting.