Prince Rupert Fishermen Looking For More Public Clam Digging Areas

A group of fishermen in Prince Rupert say they are frustrated with the lack of clam digging sites in the area.

Local fishermen say they've been looking for space to harvest clams for four years and say they still are not getting further to finding a location.

Ken Frazen is with the BC Wildlife Federation and says the Department of Fisheries and Oceans recently told the Sport Fishing Advisory Board the latest proposal was denied by Metlakatla to have an area set up on the west end of Digby Island and they were was frustrated by the fact.

"There's no conservation concern. There are millions of clams out there. There are a lot of hoops to jump through. There's water testing, testing for shellfish poisoning, consulting with First Nations. There are all of those hoops first before you can even dig for clams."

Metlakatla Stewardship Society executive director, Ross Willson, says they are willing to talk with the DFO and fishermen about possible locations for clam digging areas, but say more resources need to be put in place to do the proper research.

"We've always identified the need for more resources to cover more beaches in our territory. I'm not sure if DFO has given the fishermen the information.

The society follows a number of laws and guidelines with one of the keys being that management plans are in place.

Franzen says it's a positive step to hear Metlakatla Stewardship Society is open to exploring options and hopes some type of solution can happen fast.

"It's been four years. It's been going on for far too long. It's time to settle it."

Wilson says no doors have been closed.

"We're more than happy to discuss with the DFO and fishermen where we stand and what can happened, but it's our job to ensure our members needs our taken care of."

The DFO has not yet responded to our request for comment.