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Shellfish Harvesting Status Map

The Shellfish Harvesting Status Map will allow you to identify BC shellfish harvesting closures in your area.

Features have been added for recreational users and commercial harvesters, including

  • Open areas by shellfish species
  • Where to find a pump-out station for your boat
  • Recent sea surface temperatures (SSTs)
  • Where outfalls are located
  • Recent water quality data
Video instructions on how to use this map

This map was originally designed to help users determine if a location is open or closed to shellfish harvesting due to biotoxin, sanitary, or chemical contamination or restricted for other reasons.

On the map, you can click any subarea or closure polygon to get detailed information about the harvesting closure status. For details about the biotoxin and sanitary status of the area, users may click the link to the  Bivalve shellfish contamination closures page of Fisheries & Oceans Canada, the authoritative source for this information.

Map layers can be toggled on or off to visualize aquaculture sites, parks, reserve lands, sea surface temperatures (SSTs), pump-out stations, outfalls and water quality testing data. Users may need to zoom in to an area before these features activate. To learn about how to use the map, see the right side panel for complete instructions or video tour (in development). The map also features a shellfish dictionary (click the book icon on the lower right corner of the map). Information about data sources is provided in the map with more detailed information shown below.  

Esri Leaflet basemaps

  • Sources: Esri, DigitalGlobe, GeoEye, i-cubed, USDA FSA, USGS, AEX, Getmapping, Aerogrid, IGN, IGP, swisstopo, and the GIS User Community ArcGIS Online Service
  • Canadian Shellfish Sanitation Program (CSSP), Harvest Areas-Restricted, Fisheries and Oceans Canada. REST service from CSSP is updated daily with closures.
  • Indian Reserves - Administrative Boundaries, GeoBC, 2020.
  • BC Parks, Ecological Reserves, and Protected Areas, GeoBC, 2020.
  • National Parks and National Park Reserves within the province of British Columbia, GeoBC, 2020.

Pump-out locations

  • Pump-out services are compiled by Transport Canada annually.

Where can I harvest?
This map feature shows species open for harvesting. In the display, sanitary closure information is always turned on and these areas will automatically display as red on the map underneath the green colour. This means shellfish species appearing green only occur in open areas and that these areas are not closed for biotoxins or under a sanitary closure.

Water quality data
Water quality data is provided by the Environment Canada Climate Change (ECCC) program. Fecal coliform values are shown as counts per 100mL (derived from Most Probable Number or MPN tests). Data is described as:
  • The geometric mean value is calculated as the nth root of the product of n numbers. Note: the last 15 results are used in the calculation for areas monitored under Adverse Pollution Conditions (APC) and last 30 results for areas monitored under the Systematic Random Sampling Regime (SRS).
  • The 90th percentile is calculated by Antilog[(Slog)*1.28 + Xlog]
  • The last 5 water quality test results are shown in the table 
  • The methods for fecal coliforms are described in Standard Methods for the Examination of Water and Wastewater, 9221E: Thermotolerant (Fecal) Coliform Procedure, a multiple-tube fermentation technique whereby results are reported in terms of Most Probable Number (FC/100 mL MPN).
In addition to water quality data, the ECCC program conducts pollution source assessment including wastewater modelling and evaluation of marinas/anchorage areas to determine water quality in marine shellfish harvesting areas. The data shown on this map is sourced from from BC water quality data and may not include the most recent water quality survey.  

On the map users will see geometric means and the 90th percentiles calculated from the most recent water quality data posted.  Acceptable water quality are discussed in the CSSP online manual, in section
  • Geometric mean of <14 fecal coliforms /100 mL, and 90th percentile of <43 fecal coliforms /100 mL (by MPN); OR
  • median does not exceed 14 fecal coliforms /100 mL and not more than 10% exceed 43 fecal coliforms /100 mL (by MPN).
Other standards for water quality data depend on the intended use of the growing waters, please consult the CSSP for criteria. 

Outfall data
Outfall is the generic term given to different types of effluent discharge, for example, discharges that come from community districts or businesses, and differences in the amount and frequency of the discharge at each site. There are two layers showing outfall locations on the map, both from publically available datasets within the Government of Canada and Government of BC.

Additional information about data displays:

The Wastewater Systems Effluent Regulations (WSER), developed under the Fisheries Act, came into force in 2012 to manage wastewater releases by systems that collect an average daily influent volume of 100 cubic metres or more. The outfalls displayed on the map are all operational wastewater systems located within 20km of BC coastal waters. 

Descriptions associated with each data point include:
  1. System Name – name of the wastewater system.
  2. System Owner – name of the wastewater system owner.
  3. Facility ID – the number assigned to the outfall in the WSER data. 
  4. System Type – description of the type of system as either intermittent or continuous. 
  5. Average Daily Effluent Volume (m3) - Average volume of effluent deposited per day from the wastewater system via the final discharge point based on the total volume of effluent deposited during a calendar year.
  6. Treatment Types – Types of treatment used by the wastewater system. 
  7. Chlorine Use – The wastewater system uses chlorine or one of its compounds in the treatment process (Yes or No).
The AMS stores all documentation for waste discharge authorizations. The authorizations displayed on the map are all active effluent discharge authorizations located within 20km of BC coastal waters. 

Descriptions associated with each data point include:
  1. Outfall Name - described as the site location, company, agency or name of the permit holder.
  2. Authorization Number – the number assigned to the outfall within the AMS. 
  3. Issue Date – date the waste discharge authorization was issued. 
  4. Facility Description – description provided for the facility in the AMS. 
  5. Nearest Municipality – name of the nearest municipality.
Sea surface temperatures
The SST product being used in these maps is the “SSTfnd” product”, which is the sea surface foundation temperature. This is the temperature at the first time of the day when the heat gain from the solar radiation absorption exceeds the heat loss at the sea surface, and it is free of diurnal temperature variability.  The sea surface foundation temperature usually occurs at a depth of about 10 metres below the surface. You can access sea suface temperatures in a separate map on our site.

Concerned you have shellfish poisoning? 

  • Call poison control at 1-800-567-8911

  • To report any technical issues or inaccuracies with the data reported with this tool, contact BCCDC
  • For technical advise about data sources used in this map, or further information contact Environmental Health Services, BCCDC
  • For more information about Shellfish Closures, please contact:
    • Elysha Gordon
      Phone: 250-756-7192   Fax: 250-756-7162
      Resource Management  DFO South Coast Division
      Canadian Shellfish Sanitation Program (CSSP) Coordinator
      3225 Stephenson Point Rd., Nanaimo, BC V9T 1K3
    • David Fogtmann
      Phone: 250-339-3799  Fax: 250-339-4612
      Resource Management  DFO South Coast Division
      148 Port Augusta St., Comox, BC V9M 3N6
    • Michelle Rainer
      Phone: 604-666-1746
      Communications Advisor
    • Shellfish Toxin Updates
      Toll free: 1-866-431-FISH (1-866-431-3474)
      Recorded information or visit your local DFO office.
  • Water Features
    • For questions about outfalls contact BC Environmental Compliance; report Polluters at 1-877-952-7277 or #7277 (Telus mobility)
    • For questions about marine sewage regulations contact Transport Canada at
    • For questions about water quality testing and the shellfish water classification program contact Environment Canada at 

SOURCE: Shellfish Harvesting Status Map ( )
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