The fishery joins a growing number of Canadian fisheries seeking MSC certification and already certified including Clearwater’s offshore lobster fishery and the offshore scallop fishery in which it participates. The fishery
This fishery occurs on Banquereau Bank, which is a component of the Scotian Shelf in the Atlantic Ocean located east of Nova Scotia, and on Grand Bank, which is one of a series of banks collectively referred to as the Grand Banks, lying south east of Newfoundland. There has been an Arctic surf clam fishery managed by the Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) on Banquereau since 1986 and Clearwater is now the only licensed operator in the limited entry fishery.
Hydraulic suction dredges are used to harvest Arctic surf clams on the Banquereau and Grand Banks. These dredges are a mobile gear towed by large vessels typically used to harvest shellfish from the substrate in which they are buried. The dredge uses sea water under pressure to lift the shellfish into a retaining device allowing smaller clams to pass through.
Catches of Arctic surf clams average about 24,000 mt annually for Banquereau and Grand Bank combined, with the predominant share of harvests currently coming from Banquereau. Arctic surf clams are shucked and individually quick frozen at sea. The prime grade meat may be sold into the US or shipped to Japan and China for sale.
“Clearwater has always been committed to sustainable fishing and we believe our Arctic surf clam fishery will measure up well against the MSC’s gold standard for global fisheries,” said Ian Smith, CEO of Clearwater Seafoods. “We look forward to having Arctic surf clam added to our portfolio of MSC-certified seafood products.”
Kerry Coughlin, Americas regional director for the MSC says, “We welcome the Arctic surf clam fishery into assessment against MSC standard. The MSC programme is designed to recognize and reward sustainable fishing practices, and we applaud Clearwater Seafoods, which is involved in four MSC-certified fisheries, for continuing in their commitment to sustainable fishing practices by entering this clam fishery into assessment.”