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Exploratory intertidal bivalve surveys in British Columbia - 2002

, : Exploratory intertidal bivalve surveys in British Columbia - 2002. Canadian Manuscript Report of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 2733: i-x, 1-199

Results of exploratory intertidal clam surveys carried out in 2002 to assess populations of commercially important clams, exotic varnish clams, Nuttallia obscurata, and native Olympia oysters, Ostrea conchaphila, on selected beaches in British Columbia (B.C.) are presented. These surveys were a continuation of exploratory clam surveys initiated in 1990 to assess intertidal clam resources in the North and Central Coasts. These surveys were expanded to include exploratory work in the South Coast. to map varnish clam dispersal and distribution of native Olympia oysters. Manila clams, Venerupis philippinarum, were found at low densities in Johnstone and Queen Charlotte Straits and Sunderland Channel. One live clam and some dead shells indicated that the species was present in Seymour and Belize Inlets, but at very low population levels. Manila clams were common on most beaches on the west coast of Vancouver Island, with lower densities recorded in Tofino Inlet and north of Brooks Peninsula. Varnish clams were confirmed from Salmon Bay in Johnstone Strait, and were found in Barkley, Clayoquot and Kyuquot Sounds and Ououkinsh and Nasparti Inlets on the west coast of Vancouver Island. None were found north of Brooks Peninsula. Significant populations of Olympia oysters were recorded from Klaskino and Amai Inlets and Port Eliza. Results of the 2002 surveys, as well as previously documented surveys, indicate that extensive populations of Olympia oysters remain relatively rare in B.C. Most beaches with suitable substrate supported populations of native clam species, including littleneck clams, Protothaca staminea, butter clams, Saxidomus gigantea, cockles, Clinocardium nuttallii, and various Macoma species. Relative abundance of each species depended upon the habitat characteristics (tidal elevation, substrate type, exposure, salinity) of individual beaches.


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