More than Just a Pretty Beach: marine shorelines are critical fish habitats

Along our shorelines, forage fish species spawn and juvenile salmon feed. We are mostly aware of herring, but did you know that Pacific Sand Lance, Capelin, and Surf Smelt spawn on sandy and pebble beaches right at our feet?

These “forage fish” species are the cornerstone of marine food webs and are essential food for seabirds, marine mammals, and fish! Juvenile salmon forage along the high tide line, feeding on land-based insects swept to the ocean’s surface by winds, and on tiny invertebrates living within the beach seaweed wrack line.

Communities throughout the Salish Sea are working with biologists to better understand and protect these critical fish habitats. Sea Watch Society Executive Director and Scientist, Ramona de Graaf, joined us on Bowen Island for a fascinating evening talk titled “More than a Pretty Beach: Marine shorelines are critical fish habitats”. Ramona is a marine biologist and oversees the province-wide research program to document and protect beach spawning forage fish habitat.

The talk was held at Bob Turner’s home, at 710 Minnows Lane, at 7:30 pm Thursday May 22nd.

Ramona led a beach tour on Friday May 23rd, from 9:00 to 9:45 am, at Pebbly Beach on Deep (Mannion) Bay.

We are delighted that classes from the Bowen Island Community School toured the beach with Ramona after the public walk.