The Success of Pacific Herring (Clupea pallasi) Spawning Net Deployment in False Creek Buu, Nathalie; Wang, Xinchen; Yang, Hailing; Yerxa, Kiana
Due to decades of commercial fishing and changing environmental conditions, the Pacific herring ( Clupea pallasi) stock off the British Columbia coast have suffered habitat loss and population decline (Hay & McCarter, 2015). Many areas that herring once used as their spawning ground are no longer occupied due to the disturbance and destruction of their habitat. False Creek used to have a lush ecosystem that herring returned to annually to spawn, but industrialization of the area no longer makes it optimal for herring to spawn there. Therefore, the recent return of Pacific herring in False Creek is a significant event that is critical to the future health of Vancouver and BC Waters. Herring are a keystone species that supports the ecosystem and other marine life in BC. It is also important in terms of the City of Vancouver’s desire to preserve biodiversity and natural environments as Pacifc herring were outlined as a priority species to protect (City of Vancouver, 2016). The Squamish Streamkeepers Society is a group of volunteers that have developed a methodology to support herring populations in False Creek by deploying spawning nets that create habitat for egg deposition. The goal of our project was to document the practices of the Streamkeepers, bring scientific rigour to this successful practice, test best practices for net maintenance, share our findings, and explore any recommendations for improvement or simplification of the process. This study was conducted by examining the work of the Streamkeepers in False Creek Vancouver as well as determining if certain factors such as the location of the herring nets and time of deployment affect the success of egg densities on the nets.
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