Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Avid Anglers

 I attended the Avid Anglers AGM again this year, and again it was so full of interesting information that I have only enough time to hint at in this post. Avid Anglers is the group of volunteer anglers collecting tissue samples from chinook and coho salmon for DNA analysis to find which river stocks of salmon are about and how they move and live.  This is fulfilling  "citizen science".

Some of the things that have been learned over the years is how the stock composition of fish caught in Georgia Strait varies form north to south within the Strait.  Also we have learned that stocks from the mainland side , which are more remote rivers, have been larger contributors to the catch had previously thought.  And on the Vancouver Island side, showing that those rivers contribute greatly to the recreational catch , resulted in addition funds and production to the Puntledge River hatchery.  

We also learned that there is growing scientific data to support the local observation that seals and also sea lions, are eating a lot of salmon.  The rapid grow of seal in Georia Strait for several decades has now leveled off at about 40,000 seals. Perhaps the Orcas ( Killer Whales ) are having an effect, or they might have reached the limit of their food supply .  They eat salmon when they are in schools of tiny young fish, and when they are adults returning to the rivers.
.  At any rate, it is estimated that seals ,with sea lions , are eating about 5 times as much as they did in the 1970s.  And eating about twice as much as Orcas.  And eating about 6 times the recreational catch.

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