A Vancouver Island University research study has determined that licensed seaweed harvesting of Mazzaella japonica did not appear to have a detectable effect on the amount deposited on the beaches in the Deep Bay and Bowser area over the course of the study.
The Vancouver Island University research team studied the environmental and ecological effects of commercial harvesting during the 2014-15 harvest season. The Ministry of Agriculture issued three licences for the 2014-15 season and each holder was allowed to harvest a maximum of 300 tonnes, for a total combined quota of 900 tonnes. The actual amount harvested was 675 tonnes.
The study also discovered:
- The abundance of material deposited after storm events and available for harvesting in the area was conservatively estimated at 39,000 tonnes.
- The physical impact of the tracked harvest transport vehicle was not permanent and the track marks on the upper portion of the beaches disappeared after each high tide.
- The study contains recommendations for ongoing scientific work that may continue to inform the Ministry of Agriculture’s adaptive management strategy for managing the Mazzaella japonica harvest.
The Vancouver Island University final report entitled “Monitoring of Drift Seaweed and Harvest, Central Strait of Georgia 2014-15 is available here: https://richardss.files.wordpress.com/2015/05/viucsr-beach-wrack-monitoring-2014-15-final-report150522bk.pdf
Mazzaella japonica was inadvertently introduced to B.C. waters in the early 1900’s. The Ministry of Agriculture has offered limited harvest licences for the past several years, as part of a multi-year program that is exploring the viability of an ongoing harvest in the Deep Bay and Bowser area.
Government Communications and Public Engagement
Ministry of Agriculture
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