Working with the K’ómoks Nation towards Q’waq’wala7owkw on their unceded territory.

Working with the K’ómoks Nation towards Q’waq’wala7owkw on their unceded territory.

Requesting Forage Fish Local Knowledge

op: Surf smelt, Bottom: Pacific sand lance (used with permission K. Perry)
Over the past few months, Project Watershed and citizen scientist volunteers have been working hard to identify forage fish spawning beaches in the Northern Salish Sea. Forage fish are a group of small schooling fish that are ecologically important to a variety of marine species such as Chinook and coho salmon, marine shore birds like the Rhinocerous Auklet and larger marine mammals such as orcas and humpback whales. In BC there are seven common species of forage fish: eulachon, Pacific sand lance, surf smelt, Pacific herring, Pacific sardine, capelin, and Northern anchovy.

Forage Fish Questionnaire

Results of Winter Beach Surveys

Stories are important methods of knowledge and information transfer. We hope you can help us by sharing your forage fish stories! We are primarily interested in any information related to the location and timing of spawning or aggregating events by any of the seven species listed above. Other things to look out for include aggregating events of forage fish predators like seabirds, seals, and salmon. Local knowledge is incredibly important for helping us guide our sampling planning, exploring restoration options, and monitoring changes in spawning habitat use over time.

How can you help?

  • Fill in the Local Ecological Knowledge Questionnaire – online using google forms or using this pdf
  • Send photos of beaches where you have seen forage fish in the past
  • Share local knowledge over casual conversation and send the stories to Project Watershed (student.projectwatershed@gmail.com)
  • Call Virginia East – Project Watershed’s Forage Fish Field and Research Assistant: 250-703-2871

Who can help us?

  • Community members and elders from First Nations communities across Vancouver Island
  • Local persons involved with the fishing industry (past or present)
  • Local residents – are there beaches you like to walk where you notice particular activities at various times of the year (i.e. bird sightings)?
  • Anyone interested in sharing knowledge on forage fish is welcome to contribute to our ongoing collection of local forage fish knowledge!

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