Presentation Abstract

Forage fish such as surf smelt (Hypomesus pretiosus) are a crucial piece of the marine food web in the Salish Sea as they are a vital conduit of energy from primary producers to higher level consumers, like marine mammals, seabirds, and salmon. Protection of forage fish spawning habitat is afforded under the Washington State Hydraulic Code, but in order for this habitat to be protected we must be able to document where it occurs. Surveys for nearshore spawning forage fish were first implemented by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) beginning in 1972. These early surveys were sometimes patchy both spatially and temporally, which has made assessing trends in distribution and utilization of spawning habitat difficult. Beginning in the spring of 2014, survey efforts were renewed with a more systematic sampling approach. At the same time, WDFW began development of a sample processing method that provided more consistent results from multiple user groups and greater probability of detecting eggs which enabled us to engage with more research partners to collect and process more samples. We will present findings from recent surveys and historical surveys, describe the spatial and temporal distribution of the documented surf smelt spawning habitat in Puget Sound, and discuss notable changes or differences.

Session Title

Forage Fish Status, Spawning Beach Restoration and Monitoring, and Community Engagement in the Salish Sea

Keywords

Surf smelt, Forage fish, Spawning habitat

Conference Track

SSE1: Habitat Restoration and Protection

Conference Name

Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference (Seattle, WA : 2018)

Document Type

Event

SSEC Identifier

SSE1-304

Start Date

5-4-2018 1:30 PM

End Date

5-4-2018 1:45 PM

Type of Presentation

Oral

Contributing Repository

Digital content made available by University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University.

Geographic Coverage

Salish Sea (B.C. and Wash.)

Rights

This resource is displayed for educational purposes only and may be subject to U.S. and international copyright laws. For more information about rights or obtaining copies of this resource, please contact University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA 98225-9103, USA (360-650-7534; heritage.resources@wwu.edu) and refer to the collection name and identifier. Any materials cited must be attributed to the Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference Records, University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University.

Type

text

Language

English

Format

application/pdf

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Apr 5th, 1:30 PM Apr 5th, 1:45 PM

Surf Smelt Spawning Habitat Trends in South Puget Sound

Forage fish such as surf smelt (Hypomesus pretiosus) are a crucial piece of the marine food web in the Salish Sea as they are a vital conduit of energy from primary producers to higher level consumers, like marine mammals, seabirds, and salmon. Protection of forage fish spawning habitat is afforded under the Washington State Hydraulic Code, but in order for this habitat to be protected we must be able to document where it occurs. Surveys for nearshore spawning forage fish were first implemented by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) beginning in 1972. These early surveys were sometimes patchy both spatially and temporally, which has made assessing trends in distribution and utilization of spawning habitat difficult. Beginning in the spring of 2014, survey efforts were renewed with a more systematic sampling approach. At the same time, WDFW began development of a sample processing method that provided more consistent results from multiple user groups and greater probability of detecting eggs which enabled us to engage with more research partners to collect and process more samples. We will present findings from recent surveys and historical surveys, describe the spatial and temporal distribution of the documented surf smelt spawning habitat in Puget Sound, and discuss notable changes or differences.