Here in the Comox Valley, our local beaches have a story to tell about a small fish that is so much more. Maybe you’ve seen Project Watershed out on local beaches, with measuring tapes and high visibility vests, trying to learn more about this small fish with a big impact!
Summer is almost here and Project Watershed is gearing up for another round of surf smelt sampling on beaches around the Comox Valley.
With the crocuses and daffodils in bloom and herring in the news I think we can say it is spring. Spring means another season of intertidal forage fish field validation is complete.
Suggested Grades: 4- 11
The World Wildlife Fund has released a variety of resources for both professionals and citizen scientists researching forage fish. This includes a spawning survey guidance document, as well as QEP and Citizen Scientist sampling methodologies and data sheets.
NIC biology students are getting a unique opportunity to help with an important forage fish research project, thanks to a partnership between NIC and Comox Valley Project Watershed.
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.
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Project Watershed has recently secured funding, through the BC Salmon Restoration and Innovation Fund, to undertake forage fish research. Forage fish are small, schooling fish.
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