Turn It In Week

By Roy L Hales

For the past eight years Gorge harbour residents, on Cortes Island, have been cleaning up the aquaculture debris, left by industry, at their own expense. This was sometimes a source of tension between property owners and industry. Barry and Amanda Glickman, who organized these annual clean-ups, said the first year they hauled away three truck loads of debris. The most recent clean-up was last May. Now the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) is stepping in and, in partnership with industry, will be holding Turn it in Week between September 11-15, 2017.

Turn It In Week

I spoke with Chris Marrie, Acting Senior Biologist with the Aquaculture Management Division of the DFO.

“The idea is to encourage shellfish growers throughout the south coast of BC to turn in any debris that they are not using; that is taking up space on their shellfish leases; that is at risk of maybe coming off tenure and blowing on to public beaches. We are partnering with industry to get rid of the debris in an effective way, whether that it is putting it out there to be used by other growers, if it is still in good condition …  or if it has to go to the landfill, ” he said[1]

Four of the drop-off areas are within CKTZ’s broadcast area: Heriot Bay, on Quadra Island; Gorge Harbour, on Cortes Island; Okeover and Powell River.

Previous Gorge Harbour Clean-ups

The Truckload of Aquacultural debris taken from Gorge Harbour in May 2017 – Courtesy Amanda Glickman

Marrie was not aware that some Gorge Harbour residents have been cleaning up aquacultural debris for years.

Nor had Amanda Glickman, Vice President of  the Harbour Authority of Cortes Island, heard of Turn it in week.

In the podcast above, you can hear excerpts from a conversation I had with the Glickmans at the Floathouse restaurant.[2]

Subsequent to our conversation, I learned that Cortes Island’s first aquacultural clean-ups were carried out by the farmers. By 1998, there were more than 20 growers cleaning up Cortes and the surrounding areas.

“Bee islets was bought by a group of some 20+ Growers from Redonda Seafarms (Fanny Bay was the parent company) in 1998.  This was the year the Cortes Island Shellfish Co-op was also founded.

“After the founding of the new Bee Islets we had annual clean-ups in the Gorge.  These clean-ups involved Bee Islets,  Desolation Sound Oysters, Dave Nikeleva, Ian Winter and also several upland owners and land owners.  We used our own boats and trucks.

“One purpose of the clean-ups was to show farmers what not to do, i.e. cutting string and not securing trays and pipes to the rafts etc. This worked to a degree!

“When the OysterFest started in 2004 the tidying up of the Gorge became even more paramount!

“Once the Stewards of the Gorge was fromed the clean-ups organised by Amanda and Barry Glickman  with the aid of their barge became a major event followed by a barbecue. The clean-up now takes place annually on Earth Day and all are welcome.” – email from an Aquafarmer, who wishes to remain anonymous.

  • Gorge Harbour Clean-up of aquacultural debris - All photos courtesy Amanda Glickman

A Community Effort

Amanda Glickman confirmed this, adding it was a community effort:

“The local growers have always been instrumental in making the Harbour cleanup happening. Without their support, it wouldn’t be the success it is today. Upland property owners have been instrumental in lending a hand and organizing the debris they find for us to pick up. Live aboards have been valuable year round, picking up large floating objects and removing styrofoam floats and logs. The marina has always assist us by giving us access, allowing us to dispose of smaller articles in their waste, and giving us a venue for the harbour cleanup, not to mention providing us with coffee!!”[3]

Marrie and the Glickmans have now exchanged emails, and Cortes Island residents have been invited to both spread the word about Turn it in week and bring any aquacultural debris they find to the drop-off site.

For Growers Want More Information

Volunteers collecting Aquacultural debris in Gorge Harbour – Courtesy Amanda Glickman

In the podcast, Chris Marrie says that growers who need more information should phone the BC shellfish Grower’s Association. Darlene Winterburn is their executive director and her phone number is 250-890-7561.

Cortes Island residents can contact the local co-ordinator for Turn it in Week, Julia Rendall, and her phone number is 250-935-6681.

Top photo Credit: Aquacultural debris from a 2016 clean-up of Pendrell Sound – Courtesy Chris Marrie, Department of Fisheries


  1. interview with Chris Marrie, Acting Senior Biologist with the Aquaculture Management Division of the DFO
  2. interview with Amanda & Barry Glickman
  3. email from Amanda Glickman

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