Innovations drive Burrard herring recovery in Vancouver

On Wednesday, April 10, 2024 at 7:30 pm, the North Shore Fish and Game Club is hosting Marine scientist Douglas Swanston for an evening of information and knowledge exchange. He will be presenting recent observations about efforts to enhance and restore Pacific Herring spawning on Fisherman’s Wharf in False Creek and throughout the Burrard Inlet. He will include interim results of the experimental relocation of herring eggs from False Creek to Coal Harbour. 

As a biologist and member of the Squamish Streamkeepers, Swanston has been involved with the club’s efforts to spawning and rearing habitat for herring, including an innovative project that created artificial spawning substrate and wrapping toxic creosote pilings. 

Swanston hand-crafted mesh spawning channels that rise and fall with the tide to keep the eggs below the surface and prevent them from being soiled by fuel and oil, which kill the eggs. 

This unique technique of habitat restoration helped restore the local herring spawning and rearing habitat, assisting the depleted herring stocks in the Howe Sound, Burrard Inlet, and False Creek. Net panels in False Creek virtually have a 100-per-cent hatch out rate. The Streamkeepers have 160 net panels at Fishermans Wharf during the spawning season. 

Swanston operates NW Seacology, providing clients with information on biota in the near-shore environment. Since 2011, the study of spawning Pacific herring has become his focus and passion.  Assisting community organizations, various levels of government and professional associates, Swanston works to enhance community knowledge of Pacific herring locally. His goal is to protect, restore, and enhance local spawning populations of this important fish. 

WHO: Douglas Swanston, marine biologist 

WHERE: 123 West 15th Street, North Vancouver 

TIME: April 10, 7:30 pm 

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