Observe & Report

Shellfish Advisory for the Greater Vancouver Area

(Fisheries and Oceans Area #29)

Harvesting of ALL shellfish (clams ,mussels, oyster, and other bivalves) is prohibited all year round.

This area has been closed due to pollution continuously since 1970.

Shellfish Closure sign


MANY people do not know about this closure, especially those new to Canada. About half of the harvesters encountered by Beach Heroes staff truly don’t know and immediately put their shellfish back. The other half do know and are harvesting illegally.


See poachers in action. These people did not know about the contamination or the illegality of harvesting clams in this area. These clams are hazardous to their health.

This couple is collecting clams and vegetation for soup stock on Crescent Beach. As you can see, they are literally raking the beach for clams and seaweed.

They came all the way from north Burnaby thinking that Boundary Bay is safe to eat. It is not. They were horrified and put their clams and seaweed back, but it was too late for the creatures we want to keep reproducing so their species will remain abundant here. The ecosystem in their raked area was destroyed.

Report Harvesting to Protect Public Health

Shap a picture of adults digging and picking up clams. They often load grocery bags of clams into backpacks to get them off the beach. Call the DFO hotline.

Officers may not arrive (they are understaffed) before the poachers leave the beach, so try to discreetly obtain a license plate number. DFO can then check out the lead on-route or at the home of the poachers. Do NOT approach suspected poachers.

Fisheries Brochure

Get your fishing license

A licence is required, even for children (free) to harvest anything out of the ocean: fish, crabs, shellfish.

To apply for a licence online: click here

The official Fisheries and Oceans Canada regulation booklet and harvesting guides are available online: click here

Report Violations: click here

Crab Advisory Greater Vancouver Area 29

Only 2 types of crab are allowed for harvesting in the Pacific region in Canada. They are Dungeness and Red Rock crabs. Crabs must be of legal species, size and sex to be harvested. The size required is different per species. Crabs are measured across their bodies through the widest area of their

Crabs caught here must be cleaned very well with ALL of the tomalley (guts) removed. They are living in an area closed to bivalve (clam) harvesting due to pollution. The same pollution that poisons clams poisons the guts, but not the meat, of crabs.

How to Measure a Crab

Watch and learn as Carolyn, a beach hero marine interpreter, measures first a red rock and then a dungeoness crab.


On the belly of the crab is a section that looks like a flap. On the female, it is wider and called a “beehive” shape.

Females must be left alone to lay enough eggs to reproduce a healthy generation of new crabs.


On the male, the flap is narrow and called a "lighthourse" shape. Males may be harvested, but only if legal species and size.

Red Rock Crab

This Red Rock crab is oversized and legal to harvest. 115mm = 4.5 inches = 3/4 of a Canadian dollar bill

Red Rock Crab

Dungeness Crab

This Dungeness crab is undersized and not legal. 165mm = 6.5 inches = the width of a Canadian dollar bill PLUS the width of one finger.


Print your Official Crab Guidelines or refer to the Fisheries and Oceans Canada website. Click here






Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Observe, Record and Report Hotline

The illegal harvest and sale of shellfish have been linked to organized crime. Fisheries & Oceans Canada enforcement officers suspect the contaminated shellfish is sold to markets and restaurants locally, but they rarely have enough evidence to follow the shellfish from beach to restaurant.


call the hotline: (604) 666-3500 in Greater Vancouver or toll free 1-800-465-4336