Friends of Forage Fish

Forage fish are super-abundant schooling fishes such as herring, anchovy, sand lance, surf smelt, sardine, capelin and eulachon. These small fish are “forage” or “prey” for 100’s of species from birds, marine mammals & fish.

What eats forage fish? Just about everybody!
Being the cornerstone of the marine food web, forage fish are the most important fish in the sea. They connect food energy from zooplankton to their predators. These predators (salmon, lingcod and rockfish, etc.) are prey for larger animals, such as sea lions and Killer Whales.

Our group collects spawning data on the beaches of the Sunshine Coast, British Columbia. By sifting small beach sediment samples, we hope to find forage fish eggs, a sure sign of a positive spawning beach. Our team of dedicated volunteers are sampling every two to four weeks, depending on season, to establish whether or not our beaches are valuable spawning habitats for smelt or sand lance. We are currently sampling a beach in Gibsons and one in Davis Bay. We have successfully located sand lance spawn sites in three areas on the Sunshine Coast so far - Davis Bay, Bonniebrook, and Gibsons Creek! Our goal is to sample likely spawn sites over several seasons.

The idea of Friends of Forage Fish was born in 2007. Training community members was carried out in 2008 and sampling began in 2009. Since then we have completed one 2 year sampling period and we are currently (2012) finishing our second sampling period.

We are always looking for more volunteers, so please contact us!
We offer in the field training, camaraderie, and fun!