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FISH AND WILDLIFE continued

Shellfish are present throughout Burrard Inlet. Species include crab, prawn, and bivalves such as clams, mussels, and oysters. Clams are present, but invasive ones (soft-shelled and varnish) have replaced the once-common native ones (littleneck and butter), as depicted in Figure 8. Likewise, Olympia oysters were once common at certain locales around Burrard Inlet. Pacific oysters, which were introduced in the 1920s, gradually replaced them. Today neither oyster is commonly found. While crab and prawn are still harvested in Burrard Inlet, in 1972 the federal government banned the gathering of bivalves because of their sensitivity to contamination from so much pollution in the inlet, which could then cause illness or disease in the people who ate them. Map 17 shows shellfish-gathering sites identified in Tsleil-Waututh’s traditional knowledge studies and the area affected by the bivalve harvest closure. Tsleil-Waututh is very concerned that 200 years of development around Burrard Inlet has resulted in the loss of herring and other forage fish and a decline in marine bird and salmon species. With the closure of bivalve harvest and a provincial government prohibition against hunting on the water13 (which made the remaining birds off limits), all the key marine elements of our subsistence economy are now scarce, contaminated, or inaccessible. Figure 8—Common Clam Species in Burrard Inlet

Butter clam

Soft-shelled clam

Littleneck clam

Varnish clam

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13

www.env.gov.bc.ca/fw/wildlife/hunting/regulations/docs/FVSAH2012.pdf

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