Lazo-Herring Workshop: 5 webinars over 5 days !

This series of webinars examines several aspects of coastal ecology, including herring biology, seabirds and related coastal fauna.

This event is set up as a single webinar per day at 10am Pacific / 12pm Central / 2pm Atlantic Standard Time over the last week of February to prevent “ZOOM fatigue”:

10 am PST February 22 Monday:          Dr. John Nielsen. (DFO retired)  Salish Sea Herring 101, Biology Human Use, Status and Management”

One of the first signs of spring in the Salish Sea is the arrival of spawning herring, and they are almost here! Comox Valley Nature has organized a series of talks concerning Pacific herring and other fish in the region. In this talk, John provides an introduction to Pacific herring, the critical foundation of the Salish Sea marine ecosystem. John discusses its biology, recent human use, and the current status of the resource. He concludes by describing how Pacific herring will become one of the first Canadian fish stocks to be managed using the so-called Precautionary Approach, and what that means for the future.

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10am PST  February 23 Tuesday:          Ellen Campbell, Megan Buchanan and Calvin Sandborn QC (UVIC Environmental Law Centre).   The Legal Protection of Forage Fish Beaches” (Environmental Legal Impacts Report)

Discussion of the ELC report, Saving Orcas by Protecting Fish Spawning Beaches—including necessary law reforms and field measures to protect forage fish spawning habitat.

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10am PST  February 24 Wednesday:    Dr. Ignacio Vilchis (San Diego Zoo Conservation Programme). Assessing seabird ecological correlates to inform conservation”

Seabirds are known indicators of ecosystem status and change in marine environments. This is because most marine birds are long-lived, migratory, and at upper levels of food webs and therefore ideal indicators of changing productivity and ecosystem structure across broad spatial and temporal scales. In addition, marine birds are highly visible in habitats where most other animals are underwater, making them much more accessible to count than other marine life. In this seminar I will argue that marine monitoring programs assessing ecosystem-wide trends in biodiversity and abundance of entire communities can reveal important clues about the commonalities of species that are more likely to stop frequenting an ecosystem. And that this is particularly true for seabirds, as syntheses of long-term trends in a marine predator community will not only provide unique insights into the types of species that are at risk of extirpation and why but can also inform conservation measures to counteract threats—information that is paramount for species-specific and ecosystem-wide conservation.

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10am PST February 25 Thursday:        Dr. Robert Rangeley. (Oceana).    Rebuilding fisheries: unlocking Canada’s potential for abundant oceans”

Healthy fish populations are critical to healthy ecosystems and coastal communities. Our oceans are facing growing threats and greater uncertainty, putting the marine life we all depend upon at risk. Bob will summarize the current state of Canada’s fisheries and fisheries management recommendations for restoring abundance to our oceans.

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10am PST February 26 Friday.             Dr. Iaian McKechnie  (University of Victoria and Hakai Institute). Salish Sea Herring Archaeology

For many Indigenous peoples, the right and ability to fish is inseparably linked to their history, social relations, economy, and physical well-being. In British Columbia, salmon are iconic and have greatly enriched perspectives on the importance and antiquity of these fish for people’s livelihoods and life on the coast. However, in archaeology, an emphasis on salmon has received much attention relative to other species, particularly as small fish such as herring, anchovies, and smelts tend to not be as readily recovered during excavation and screening. In this presentation, I describe zooarchaeological fisheries records from over 222 heritage sites from Alaska, British Columbia, and Washington to provide measures of Indigenous fisheries catches spanning the past several millennia. In particular, I observe that herring (not salmon) are the most common and abundant fish in the majority of zooarchaeological assemblages (NISP) but particularly in the Salish Sea. I advocate for consideration of archaeological datasets for contemporary management and harvesting plans and for considering the restoring the past abundance and former spawning locations of herring.

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