Sea Urchins are members of the phylum Echinodermata, which also includes Sea Stars, Sea Cucumbers, Brittle Stars and Crinoids. British Columbia Sea Urchin may be an intimidating looking shellfish, covered in spines and a hard shell you would not think it edible. But once you crack it open you will find inside a treasure trove of goodness and flavor. Specifically, the five gold colored roe or gonads of the animal buried inside. With a delicate almost sweet flavor and an incredible creamy texture, British Columbia Sea Urchin is some of the finest caviar in the world today. When eaten fresh, the roe feels slightly firm against your tongue, but it melts like butter within seconds, much like oysters without the briny, salty intensity.
Under DFO’s (Department of Fisheries & Oceans Canada) cost recovery policies, PUHA funds the costs of science and management associated with the sea urchin fisheries under a Collaborative Agreement with the Government of Canada. Each year DFO science and management managers meet with all stakeholders to develop and approve an IFMP (Integrated Fisheries Management Plan)
Red urchin IFMP
Green Urchin IFMP
The commercial fishery operates from August to May with the highest market demand being in December to March. Both Fisheries operate under a Total Allowable Catch or TAC with Individual Quotas for each license. All commercial landings are tracked using a coast wide Dockside Monitoring Program where the product is landed, weighed and then deducted from each individual quota. Other management measures include limited entry licensing, area licensing and minimum size limits. PUHA represents its Members with the federal and provincial agencies involved in both the Red and Green Sea Urchin fisheries.