The Olympia oyster, Ostrea lurida Carpenter 1864,† is the only oyster native to British Columbia. Once the focus of a fishery, they have not been commercially harvested since the 1930s because of stock declines and a shift in focus to nonindigenous oysters. Olympia oysters were reported from Juan de Fuca Strait, Strait of Georgia, West Coast Vancouver Island, Queen Charlotte Strait and North Coast areas to approximately 52°13′N. They were only characterized as abundant at sites in the North Coast and West Coast Vancouver Island. Systematic quantitative sampling has not been undertaken in BC, but the few sites surveyed had estimated densities higher than others in the literature. Biological sampling was also rare in BC, and size distributions suggest that regular, low level recruitment occurs at some sites. The low incidence of brooding oysters is likely an artifact of sampling too soon in the reproductive season. Olympia oysters were listed as special concern species by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) in 2000 and under the Canadian Species At Risk Act (SARA) in 2003. Some measures have been taken to protect Olympia oysters from further decline: no commercial fishery exists or is contemplated at this time, the bag limit in the recreational fishery was reduced to zero in 2007, regulations are in place and proposed that will prohibit the use of tributyltin antifouling paints in Canada and basic protection is afforded within Federal and Provincial parks. A management plan is required under SARA by June 2008.
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