feed the marine food chain
What are Forage Fish?
Forage fish are small schooling fish such as herring, surf smelt, oolichan and Pacific sandlance which form the base of the marine food web. We have recently found that some of these fish, surf smelt and Pacific sandlance, spawn directly on our beaches. Our work is to learn more about these beach spawners and the beaches they spawn on. To do this we, along with a host of citizen science volunteers, collect sediment samples from beaches and look for the tiny eggs under microscopes.
Forage Fish News
Pacific Sand Lance Habitat Suitability Model in the Canadian Salish Sea
A new paper and model assessing intertidal beach habitat for Pacific sand lance (Ammodytes personatus) in the Salish Sea has just been released!
Stewardship Groups from Around the Salish Sea Come Together for Forage Fish Conservation
Declining salmon runs, starving sea lions and orcas, shrinking seabird communities; a collapsing pacific marine food web is what we face if the forage fish stocks and habitats are depleted along British Columbia’s coasts.
New eDNA Research
We have an exciting research announcement to share with you!
Our own Jennifer Sutherst along with 5 other scientists have recently published an article in the Ecological Indicators scientific journal.
If you want to help us find forage fish eggs on beaches around the Comox Valley then this course is for you. Searching for forage fish eggs involves beach surveys and microscope work. You can sign up for both or focus on one of the two aspects.
Beach surveys: we will show you how to assess the habitat at a beach, layout your transect, collect samples and preserve them. We will be sampling core beaches every 10 days in spawning season until eggs are detected. Once eggs are detected at our core beaches, we will begin blitz surveys. Blitz surveys involve sampling as many suitable beaches as possible to help us identify additional spawning habitat in our area.
Microscope work: we will show you how to idenify eggs under the microscope.
Local Ecological Knowledge
If you have any information to share please fill out the Local Ecological Knowledge Questionnaire. You can also:
- Send photos of beaches where you have seen forage fish in the past
- Share local knowledge over casual conversation and send us your stories
- Virginia. East@projectwatershed.ca
Thank you for sharing your knowledge on forage fish and contributing to our ongoing collection!