Abstract Title

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

Presenter/Author Information

Ramona De Graaf, Sea Watch SocietyFollow

Keywords

Species and Food Webs

Start Date

1-5-2014 5:00 PM

End Date

1-5-2014 6:30 PM

Description

Forage fish, also known as feeder fish, are small fish that play a huge role as food for thousands of predator species. Surf smelt, Pacific sand lance and capelin are three marine forage fish that spawn in the upper one-third of the intertidal zone on sandy/gravel beaches. In BC, the lack of government surveys to document these habitats has hindered coastal management. BC biologists with Sea Watch Society and former Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife forage fish expert, Mr. Dan Penttila, have trained over 30 communities and 300 volunteers to undertake spawning surveys. The results of this completely volunteer-driven BC Shore Spawners Alliance project includes an online GIS data atlas, monitoring over 80 beaches, developed a spawning season data base, and informing government policy to protect these critical habitats. Scientists and communities continue to work together to document and protect forage fish spawning and rearing habitats. Future work includes community outreach, sensitive habitat mapping with Emerald Sea Biological using the BC Forage Fish Habitat Assessment Tool, forage fish beach restoration and long-fin smelt surveys. Partnerships include government agencies, municipal and regional districts, First Nations, community groups and universities.

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May 1st, 5:00 PM May 1st, 6:30 PM

Connecting Communities to the Salish Sea - The Great BC Egg Hunt - Protecting Forage Fish Habitats

Room 6C

Forage fish, also known as feeder fish, are small fish that play a huge role as food for thousands of predator species. Surf smelt, Pacific sand lance and capelin are three marine forage fish that spawn in the upper one-third of the intertidal zone on sandy/gravel beaches. In BC, the lack of government surveys to document these habitats has hindered coastal management. BC biologists with Sea Watch Society and former Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife forage fish expert, Mr. Dan Penttila, have trained over 30 communities and 300 volunteers to undertake spawning surveys. The results of this completely volunteer-driven BC Shore Spawners Alliance project includes an online GIS data atlas, monitoring over 80 beaches, developed a spawning season data base, and informing government policy to protect these critical habitats. Scientists and communities continue to work together to document and protect forage fish spawning and rearing habitats. Future work includes community outreach, sensitive habitat mapping with Emerald Sea Biological using the BC Forage Fish Habitat Assessment Tool, forage fish beach restoration and long-fin smelt surveys. Partnerships include government agencies, municipal and regional districts, First Nations, community groups and universities.