How to avoid getting sick from shellfish you’ve harvested from the beach
- Harvest in approved, open areas only. One of the biggest concerns for shellfish are biotoxins that can survive cooking – biotoxins can kill you!
- There are no “safe” months of the year to harvest shellfish, cooking DOES NOT destroy these biotoxins and there is no way to tell if there is a red tide by looking at the colour of the water. The tide colour may look normal, but still be dangerous. Federal agencies like the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO), Environment Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) work together to monitor shellfish harvesting beaches to make sure there is no danger.
Check to see if the beach is open for shellfish harvesting.
Shellfish Red Tide Updates
PSP (24 hour Recordings) for Recreational Fisheries
Toll Free 1-866-431-3474
- Harvest shellfish when the tide is going out, or on a receding tide. Bacteria naturally present in the shellfish grow rapidly at warmer temperatures – like when they are exposed to the sun and warm air temperatures. When the shellfish are under water the temperature is often cooler, and they are pumping water in and out and clearing out the bacteria.
- Once you’ve harvested the shellfish put them into a cooler with ice packs to keep the temperature low.
- Store your shellfish in the refrigerator and cook them thoroughly – more info.
The information on these pages represent the work we do on behalf of the public, industry and government. Some of this information was written for the general public and some was written in technical language for public health.
Food Protection Services phone 604.707.2440
NCC Environmental Health phone 604.829.2551
Poison Control Centre phone 604.682.5050 or 1.800.567.8911