Abstract Title

Session S-03D: Forage Fish Research and Protection in the Salish Sea

Keywords

Species and Food Webs

Start Date

30-4-2014 3:30 PM

End Date

30-4-2014 5:00 PM

Description

Cited as the cornerstone of many marine food webs, forage fish connect zooplankton to a host of secondary predators, from seabirds, fish and marine mammals. Nearshore spawning forage fishes such as surf smelt (Hypomesus pretiosus) and Pacific sand lance (Ammodytes hexapterus) use certain intertidal sandy-gravel beaches for spawn deposition/incubation, high on shorelines near the log line. Due to the lack of Canadian government surveys, no data on the spawning ecology of surf smelt and Pacific sand lance were available for the Canadian west coast. In British Columbia, effective coastal nearshore planning is hindered by the lack of information on the spatial and temporal spawning distribution of surf smelt and Pacific sand lance. Field studies to address these data gaps are important for effective planning and marine ecosystem management throughout British Columbia. The BC Shore Spawners Alliance (BCSSA), a citizens science project of Sea Watch Society BC, has been conducting field studies to address these data gaps to improve marine ecosystem conservation in British Columbia. Our assumptions about surf smelt and Pacific sand lance spawning habitats are generally extrapolated from Puget Sound research findings. The BC coast line presents some different shoreline features that can expand our understanding of surf smelt and sand lance spawning habitat. I will present some results of the successful seven years of research in southern British Columbia into surf smelt and Pacific sand lance spawning, including the first spawning season data for the Province, intertidal spawning distribution and habitat attributes. I will also present the public information GIS atlas developed through a partnership of the BCSSA and Fisheries and Oceans Canada, and a Forage Fish Habitat Assessment Tool. I will also present examples of surf smelt and Oolichan (Thaleichthys pacificus) habitat restoration projects in the Lower Mainland region of southern British Columbia. I will also discuss challenges faced in protecting these habitats due to changes in the Canadian Fisheries Act and resulting policies.

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Apr 30th, 3:30 PM Apr 30th, 5:00 PM

Addressing the Data Gap for Intertidal Forage Fish Spawning Habitat in British Columbia

Room 611-612

Cited as the cornerstone of many marine food webs, forage fish connect zooplankton to a host of secondary predators, from seabirds, fish and marine mammals. Nearshore spawning forage fishes such as surf smelt (Hypomesus pretiosus) and Pacific sand lance (Ammodytes hexapterus) use certain intertidal sandy-gravel beaches for spawn deposition/incubation, high on shorelines near the log line. Due to the lack of Canadian government surveys, no data on the spawning ecology of surf smelt and Pacific sand lance were available for the Canadian west coast. In British Columbia, effective coastal nearshore planning is hindered by the lack of information on the spatial and temporal spawning distribution of surf smelt and Pacific sand lance. Field studies to address these data gaps are important for effective planning and marine ecosystem management throughout British Columbia. The BC Shore Spawners Alliance (BCSSA), a citizens science project of Sea Watch Society BC, has been conducting field studies to address these data gaps to improve marine ecosystem conservation in British Columbia. Our assumptions about surf smelt and Pacific sand lance spawning habitats are generally extrapolated from Puget Sound research findings. The BC coast line presents some different shoreline features that can expand our understanding of surf smelt and sand lance spawning habitat. I will present some results of the successful seven years of research in southern British Columbia into surf smelt and Pacific sand lance spawning, including the first spawning season data for the Province, intertidal spawning distribution and habitat attributes. I will also present the public information GIS atlas developed through a partnership of the BCSSA and Fisheries and Oceans Canada, and a Forage Fish Habitat Assessment Tool. I will also present examples of surf smelt and Oolichan (Thaleichthys pacificus) habitat restoration projects in the Lower Mainland region of southern British Columbia. I will also discuss challenges faced in protecting these habitats due to changes in the Canadian Fisheries Act and resulting policies.