The UHA is actively involved in geoduck and horse clam research. UHA members realize that government agencies do not have all of the funds, equipment or staff to conduct the research necessary to ensure a safe sustainable fishery. UHA members and consultants design and implement research in cooperation with Fisheries and Oceans Canada and First Nations in British Columbia.
The following is a sample of the projects that the UHA is involved in:
Geoduck and Horse Clam Density Surveys (Estimating Populations)
History of Work:
Survey divers work in pairs, counting geoducks one meter either side of transects (lead line) randomly placed on the ocean floor within geoduck beds and record their observations on waterproof data sheets clipped to their meter sticks.
Long-Term Geoduck Research Plots
Three research sites were established between 1990 and 1992, two on the inside of Vancouver Island and one on the west coast of Vancouver Island. These sites are closed to commercial fishing and have been monitored over an 8-10 year period to determine changes in geoduck population density and size (age structure) in fished and unfished plots. The sites are permanently marked underwater and revisited each year. The projects provide information on growth rates, mortality rates, rates of natural and enhanced (artificially seeded) recruitment, density and quality of geoducks and efficiency of harvesting.
Dr. Alan Campbell, a scientist with Fisheries and Oceans Canada in Nanaimo, is in charge of these long-term research plots. The UHA, including biologist Grant Dovey and experienced divers, in collaboration with Alan Campbell, conduct the necessary surveys and maintenance of the research plots.
Additional Geoduck and Horse Clam Research
The UHA also provides Fisheries and Oceans Canada with funding for other projects, such as geoduck disease studies and DNA research. UHA crews have also participated in hydroacoustic substrate mapping surveys (using sound to map the substrate on the ocean bottom). Future research will continue to investigate geoduck and horse clam populations. The UHA is committed to maintaining a sustainable industry for years to come.
Partnerships with Fisheries and Oceans and First Nations
Each geoduck or horse clam density survey is completed by UHA boats, divers and biologists in conjunction with First Nation Groups or independent third party biologists and divers with past geoduck survey experience. First Nation fisheries research organizations that the UHA has an active working relationship with are Haida Fisheries in Haida Gwaii (Queen Charlotte Islands), Kitasoo Fisheries in Klemtu on the central coast, Heiltsuk Fisheries based out of Bella Bella on the central coast and the Kwakiutl Territorial Fisheries Commission based out of Alert Bay near northeast Vancouver Island.