Herring roe eyes

I like to think I’ve developed eyes for sighting herring roe on the shoreline.  The tell-tale sign is that the high intertidal seaweed, called Fucus, or Rockweed, looks clumped and slightly white.  I think it looks a bit like dreadlocks. We’re all developing an eye for herring roe on in the intertidal zone here, as we cruise the shoreline in our boat and measure the total coastline length of the spawn at each of our dive sites.  This is important to characterize and differentiate the different sites. For instance, in Spiller Channel, where we have two sites, spawn length is almost 8 km, whereas, Kwakume Inlet, where we just set-up a site, is much smaller and has smaller spawn lengths (a couple of km’s).  Potentially, the length of spawn could affect the number of animals aggregating after a spawn event to feed on the spawning herring and their roe.

Its been almost two weeks since we we saw the first sign that the herring eggs were getting ready to hatch.  Two little black eyes were developing in many of the fertilized eggs. An eye for an eye!

Now, the eyes are everywhere, and many have emerged. Many animals are all legs when they emerge – these fish are still all eyes! Brian Hunt, and the oceanography team, are scooping them up in their nets in high numbers. Neil Frazer, our genetics team man-on-the-water, is collected eyed eggs for analyses. We’re literally up to our eyeballs in hatching herring!

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