Thursday, 9 March 2017

Very good herring spawn

 " Bumper harvest as herring return to Strait of Georgia in great numbers. "  That was the headline from the Vancouver Sun. The Nanaimo paper calls it a " boom year " . 
  This is very good news as a measure of the herring stock, the vitality of the ocean that supports them, and a positive indicator for salmon fishing. 
 Herring school up to spawn in enormous concentrated masses in just a few main locations on the coast, and also in some smaller secondary places. The main location for the south coast of B.C. is just south of us a few miles and stretching down to Nanaimo. Predators of all kinds key on them, most dramatically thousands of migratory seabirds, and hundreds of  sea lions.  And the commercial fishers harvest a big bunch, up to 20%, which is controversial, but it is hard to complain when the population is stable or growing.  
 In recent years a large portion of the herring have found good feeding conditions in our sheltered inside waters, and stayed inside ,rather than heading out to sea in the open Pacific. An indicator of this is the increase in Humpback whales in local waters, as well as the chinooks salmon we find in good size and numbers. 

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