Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Scallop Farm

Shellfish farms are the sort of thing that kayakers paddle near, shrug, and paddle away from. They're not very interesting to look at from shore or a small boat. Now a local shellfish farm is in the news. Turns out that a scallop farm near Qualicum Beach has lost all its shellfish, due to the seawater being more acidic than the scallops can tolerate, according to an article in the Times-Colonist.
Maybe shellfish farming is something better done by traditional methods, like the clam gardens built all along the coast by First Nations people long ago. Research on these human-modified beaches has been done by Judith Williams (check out her book at bookstores or the public library) and in formal research projects as well. There are clam gardens found locally, near Victoria. I got to see several of these traditional shellfish farms up-Coast at Waiatt Bay on Quadra Island, with biologist Amy Groesbeck. That investigation of clam gardens was all done with the assistance of a couple of old canoes and my little inflatable kayak... a wonderful exploration of the Waiatt Bay shoreline! And a marvel to see at low tide from my kayak the old rock walls that have supported the gardens for thousands of years.

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