Forage Fish monitoring in coastal habitats

Graphic recording of session by Savanna Young.

Thank you for attending our session! If you didn't get the chance to do so, the summary is below and the recording of that session is HERE.

Forage fish are an essential part of the marine ecosystem, as they are an important food source for a variety of top predators including large pelagic fish, demersal fish, marine mammals, and birds. Despite the important ecological role of forage fish species, such as Pacific sand lance and surf smelt, there is relatively limited understanding of their basic biology, including their spawning patterns. 

In the BC Salish Sea, Pacific sand lance and surf smelt use beaches along the coasts to spawn. These beaches are undergoing a "coastal squeeze": climate change impacts combined with shoreline development are diminishing the quantity and quality of spawning habitats. Therefore, it is vital to identify the beaches these fish are using for spawning, so that those beaches that have been degraded can be restored and those beaches that are at risk from human activities can be protected. We will present an overview of the monitoring network, data collection methods, and discuss data uses.