Herring may just be a type of fish to the average person.
But they’re more than that.
“Herring are very very important foundation species to the area,” says Karac Lindsay, a naturalist with Eagle Wing Tours based at Fisherman’s Wharf in the James Bay neighbourhood of Victoria. “They provide nutrients to hundreds, if not thousands of other species, directly and indirectly, in the Salish Sea.”
Along with the rest of the staff at Eagle Wing Tours, Karac is helping document what is happening in our oceans.
“We have a really unique opportunity with the industry that we’re in. We get to spend 10 plus hours a day on the water, taking people out, showing them the Salish sea, and educating them on this amazing area,” says Karac.
“We wanted to help out any way we could . . . but with World Fisheries Trust, they are specifically looking at forage fish, and more specifically, herring.”
According to Thomas Cinnamon with World Fisheries Trust, herring are an important link in the food chain.
“They help larger mammals and larger fish get food, which supports our eco-system. So anything from salmon to humpbacks, to sea lions, sea birds, it’s all connected,” says Cinnamon.
Since herring are such a vital link, volunteers are now working with World Fisheries Trust on the Herring Enhancement Project.
It was during a Georgia Strait Alliance presentation that volunteer Jim Shortreed first learned about the Project.
“They had recovered the herring stocks in False Creek, and I went ‘False Creek, Vancouver? Recovered the herring stocks?’ but yes, indeed they had, and they used these curtains — nylon curtains — to provide a proper spawning substrate for the herring, which had been spawning on creosote piles, which, of course, was not very good for the hatch out rate.”
The Herring Enhancement Program at Port Sidney Marina is happening Wednesday, Feb 17 at 1 p.m.