AZFP Checks on Herring Population for Salish Sea First Nations

In recognition of the importance of the Pacific herring, the Salish Sea Community Guardians, an organization dedicated to all aspects of stewardship for Salish Seas First Nations, have created a cross-cultural action plan. This action plan would provide First Nations traditional herring spawning habitat recovery and protection in key herring spawning areas in waters around southern Vancouver Island. Part of this action plan involves the construction of two types of habitat curtains suspended below floating docks and log booms. These curtains, made from either synthetic materials or hemlock and cedar branches, provide ideal spawning sites for the depositing of herring eggs.

ASL Environmental Sciences Inc., in collaboration with the Salish Sea Community Guardians, deployed an acoustic zooplankton fish profiler (AZFP) in March as part of this plan. The multifrequency echosounder was placed in a traditional herring spawning location in Saanichton Bay near Victoria, B.C. The deployment was for approximately one month and coincided with the seasonal herring spawn. Its purpose was to detect herring populations. Data collected from the AZFP deployment will fulfill one of the key initiatives to monitor the herring spawn in these created habitats and will be complemented by surface surveys carried out using the Department of Fisheries and Oceans protocols. The instrument was successfully recovered after deployment, and preliminary analysis shows encouraging signs of herring schools within the area.

Watch a video of the deployment here.

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