Identifying drivers of Pacific herring declines

Designed to identify drivers of declines in herring populations, the quantitative herring project is well into its first year of life.

The project is a response to herring declines on the Central Coast of British Columbia where diminished stocks, fisheries, and spawning events have lead to hardship for many communities.

Through a focus on the Central Coast, the scope of the project has grown to span the Northeast Pacific coast from San Francisco Bay to Norton Sound in Alaska.

The experience and records of resource managers from a broad portion of our coast may help to identify drivers of herring declines in Central Coast waters.

In turn, knowledge generated at a broad coastal scale may be valuable to communities outside the Central Coast that depend on herring for livelihoods or ways of life.

Northeast Pacific herring records

Northeast Pacific herring records gathered (black/white) or in preparation (grey) for the quantitative herring project

The project is led by Luke Rogers of the Hakai Network, and is a collaboration with fellow Herring Schoolers Anne Salomon and Margot Hessing-Lewis, Brendan Connors of Simon Fraser University, and Martin Krkosek of the University of Toronto.

The project consists of three stages:
(1) Gathering herring records from resource managers
(2) Identifying spatial scales at which the drivers of decline act
(3) Testing the drivers that occur at plausible spatial scales

Stage 1 is nearly complete. Records have been generously provided by Fisheries and Oceans Canada, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, and preliminary data from Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

Stage 2 is expected to begin in early September 2013, when Luke arrives in Toronto to collaborate with Martin Krkosek’s lab group at the University of Toronto. Subsequent work is planned to take place at Salmon Coast Field Station in the Broughton Archipelago, the Hakai Network at Simon Fraser University, and the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Toronto.

Luke can be contacted at luke.rogers@mail.utoronto.ca

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