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GIGUÈRE, M., S. BRULOTTE, D. LEBLANC, 2004. Aperçu de l'exploitation de la mye commune (Mya arenaria) entre la rivière Betsiamites et Baie-Trinité, Côte-Nord, Québec. Rapp. tech. can. sci. halieut. aquat., 2539, 31p .
The commercial exploitation of softshell (Mya arenaria) is a significant area of development for the Upper North Shore. However, available resources are limited by the closing of beds due to the presence of toxic algae and bacterial contamination. Industry practice of rejecting broken, egg-laying and large-sized (70 mm and more) softshell clams results in the partial loss of the resource available. The general objectives of this project are to document for Upper North Shore the problem of large-sized (70 mm and more) softshell clams rejected, to locate and estimate the biomass available of this softshell clam category, to measure the impact of fishing methods and unwanted softshell clams elimination on the survival of this species. Most harvesters consulted in the regional county municipality of Manicouagan have been doing this job since less than 5 years. They go to the Pointe-aux-Outardes flats mainly the Grosse Pointe site. Half of the respondents think that the size of softshell clams seems to have decreased, that softshell clams are less abundant, and that the catch yield decreased over the last years on this site. In the western part of the Pointe-aux-Outardes sector (pointe du Bout), softshell clams are larger and in greater numbers than those found close to the Grosse Pointe. Approximately a quarter of the harvest would be rejected by the industry that is to say because softshell clams are too large or because they are broken. Half of the respondents mentioned that they even rejected softshell clams on beds, and the other half at the time of the sale. Part of these softshell clams is used for personal consumption. During last years, the fishing season in this sector was of short duration, that is to say from March to May, and then from October to November, because beds were closed in the summer due to the presence of toxic algae and fecal coliforms. In 2002, on Pointe-aux-Outardes's sector harvesting was allowed for a total of 107 days with a total landing of 149.6 t. The size structure of the softshell clams population found on the western sector of Pointe-aux-Outardes includes a significant number of individuals of very large size, and few young individuals. The biomass of softshell clams equal and larger than 70 mm found at the (pointe du Bout) is estimated at approximately 681 t and whereas that of the Grosse Pointe is now imprecise. Approximately 8 years and 13 years would be needed to reach respectively the size of 51 mm and 70 mm. However, before landing more large individuals, it would be necessary to know the mechanism of recruitment of the softshell clams, this to ensure the conservation and the sustainable development of this resource.
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