GaLTT’s work is generally on land, but we do take an interest in marine ecosystems too, because they’re part of the whole and what makes Gabriola and the surrounding islands the special places they are. In recent months sea lions have been congregating between Link and Mudge Islands in large numbers. We don’t know exactly why—obviously there’s some food source, but this activity precedes the herring run. We asked GROWLS if they knew because they know about sea lions, but they weren’t able to give us a definitive answer either.
But herring runs do result in some wonderful wildlife watching opportunities, and they did have a great tip to pass on from GISKA for that: access the DFO Fishery Notices on the web to track what’s happening in the Strait of Georgia.
To so so:
- Visit the DFO Fishery Notices web page
- Click “Browse Notices by Fishery”
- Choose the current year
- Under “Waters” choose “Tidal South Coast – Inside”
- Under “Select one or more fishery catergories” scroll down to choose “COMMERCIAL – Herring – Roe: Test Fishery”
- Click “Display Notices”
You will see a list of daily fishery notices with the most recent at the top. Touch “Notice Number” to see any given notice.
Our source says, “I think the notices are quite readable. They contain information on where herring are and how ripe the roe is; the roe is the reason for the fishery. DFO charters commercial fishing vessels to conduct sonar surveys to locate concentrations of herring and estimate tonnage; the estimates aren’t particularly accurate but the surveys will tell where there are fish and where there are no fish. The Definition part of the Notice will help understand the survey information. The vessels are also used to take samples of herring to monitor fish size and the progression of roe maturation which is described as roe yield. The roe yield is the percentage of the weight of mature roe in subsample of fish. The typical goal is a roe yield of 12%. The Test Set Codes will help you understand the sampling information. Each notice gives the information from previous notices along with the latest information so all you will have to do is look at the most recent one.”
Happy wildlife viewing!
PHOTO: sea lions rafting at a 2012 herring run near Orlebar Point.