feed the marine food chain
The work involves collecting sediment samples from beaches and looking for the tiny eggs under microscopes. Volunteers and Citizen Scientists have spent many hours on beaches and behind microscopes to help us with this important work and we are excited to share some results from our first sampling season!
This video follows a forage fish field day, from sampling to the counting of eggs, in the late fall of 2019.
While many citizen science groups have begun conducting spring/summer forage fish spawning surveys, we still need a few more volunteers to cover some of the beaches in our area. Specifically we need volunteers for Quadra Island and Campbell River.
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.
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 (email@example.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!