The gooseneck barnacle (Pollicipes polymerus) is an edible crustacean found in the intertidal zone along the west coast of North America. The only fishery in North America for this species occurs off the westcoast of Vancouver Island in Clayoquot Sound. At present, all fishers are members of the Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations and barnacles are gathered entirely by hand.
Despite concerns of overexploitation in a past fishery, the gooseneck barnacle stock is not currently overfished and no overfishing is occurring. Quotas are set on a site-specific basis, based on information derived from three independent stock assessment techniques. At present, the fishery is very small, with only four groups of 2-3 individuals each collecting barnacles from the 48 designated harvest rocks. Proper training is provided for all new fishers and all landings are re-counted at specific dock sites.
Despite occasional mortality of associated mussels and juvenile barnacles, the amount of bycatch incurred is not substantial and there are no concerns over impacts of this fishery on other invertebrate populations. Hand gathering is highly selective and this harvest method does not cause any damage to the surrounding environment. In addition, over 70% of the harvest region is protected by marine reserves and parks.
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