Facilitating the protection and restoration of species and ecosystems at risk on BC’s South Coast

Length 6-9 cm. The Olympia oyster is a small oyster compared to commercial species which can be twice as long. The shell is circular and somewhat smooth. The valves of this oyster are different from side to side (top to bottom). The lower (left) valve is deeply cupped while the upper (right) valve is flat and fits inside the edges of its lower valve. The colour of the outer part of the shell ranges from white to purplish with the inside (nacre) being white to iridescent green to purple in colour. Olympia oysters are often attached by their lower valve to a stationary hard surface but can occur unattached singly or in clusters. Small populations still exist in the Salish Sea (Strait of Georgia) and larger populations are locally common off of Vancouver Island.

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Global Status: 
Provincial Status: 
SARA Status: 
Special Concern
BC List Status: 
Blue (Considered to be of Special Concern)


We examined records of wild native oyster abundance in the United States from a historic, yet already exploited, baseline between 1878 and 1935 (predominantly 1885–1915), and a current baseline between 1968 and 2010 (predominantly 2000–2010).
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