In Prince Edward Island, the most commonly fished
molluscs and crustaceans are oysters, sea scallops,
crabs, clams, and quahog. The waters of Malpeque Bay,
west of Kensington are especially rich grounds for this
The oyster is a bivalve living in the Islands warm,
semi-enclosed bays and estuaries to a depth of about 30
feet of water. The valves are heavy chalky white and vary
in shape and size according to
habitat. It takes oysters from three to five years to
grow to market size. Traditionally, oyster fishers
working from small boats scoop the oysters from the
bottom of rivers and bays using long-handled tongs.
Oyster fishing season in public areas begins with the
commercial relay from May 1 until July 15. Commercial
harvest then takes place from September 15 to November
30. Special permit harvesting occurs between May 1 and
August 15. Private leasehold harvesting is from August 15
until December 31.
Increasing numbers of fishers are employing aquaculture
techniques to expand productivity. New tools for
collecting include Chinese hats, veneer rings, shells,
and plastic or wood collectors. At the nursery stage,
techniques include bottom spreading of seed, French-style
rack and bag systems, floating trays, and longline
suspended units. In bays and estuaries across the Island,
private leaseholders are growing oysters from seed.
The sea scallops shells are round and held together
by a small straight hinge. Young shells are often
attractively coloured in radiant pinks and whites.
Scallops are harvested by drags. Along the Islands
south coast, from Victoria Harbour to East Point or Zone
24, scallop fishing season is from October 13 until
December 31. Along the north shore, from North Cape in
the west to East Point (Zone 23), the season is from June
1 until December 31. In Zone 22, extending from North
Cape south along the coast and then east to Victoria
Harbour, the season begins on May 5 and ends on June 7.
Snow crab and rock crab are fished using traps. Snow crab
season is from April until July. Rock crab seasons vary
in each zone. Along the north shore, from North Cape in
the West to East Point (Zone 24), the season is from July
5 until November 30. Zone 25, extending from North Cape
south along the coast and then east to Victoria Harbour
along the Islands south shore, the season begins on
October 15 and ends on November 31. From Victoria Harbour
to East Point, rock crab season is from August 18 until
Soft-shell clams are commonly found in the river mouths,
inlets, and bay beaches of Prince Edward Island. They are
usually buried in sand or mud around mid-tide level.
These molluscs have oval-shaped, long, thin, brittle
shells that are chalky white in colour. Most harvested
soft-shell clams are sold fresh in the shell but they can
also be purchased fresh or frozen shucked as well as
canned. In Prince Edward Island, they can be dug
year-round using hand tools or during certain times of
the year using mechanical harvesters.
Quahog can be harvested year-round using hand tools in
mud bottoms at low tide. These molluscs have a thick,
heavy moderately inflated shell with concentric growth
lines. They are dull white in colour and range in size
from 3.5 to 11 centimetres. Small quahog are sold fresh
in the shell while the larger animals are sold as shucked
meats that are minced and canned.
| Lobster | Finfish | Specialty Markets