A fyke net, Steve, killer whales and the Bella Rose

It takes this and more to locate, capture, sample, release and analyze the results from our juvenile salmon field research in the Fraser River estuary near Vancouver, BC. On the Fraser’s shallow saltmarsh, a specialized fyke net is designed with wings that guide the fish toward the trap. Temporarily fixed to the channel bottom, this type of net is perfect for the delta’s tidal habitat.

One fyke net – $2,500

Even more important are Steve and the Bella Rose. Steven Stark, a fisherman and member of the Tsawwassen First Nation, brings his knowledge of the ever changing estuary delta, his quick humour and expertise as a skilled captain. Steve also brings the Bella Rose, a specialized shallow draft fishing vessel essential to safely working in the estuary’s tides and shifting sands.

16 days on the Bella Rose including fuel – $16,000

Genetic analysis of Chinook (spring) salmon allows us to identify the Conservation Units (rivers of origin) that each captured salmon comes from. Ultimately, the results of our research will help determine important habitat to protect and restore. The estuary acts as a nursery for many Fraser salmon populations. We’ve caught Chinook in the estuary that have come from the Harrison and lower Fraser River, the Thompson Rivers and other rivers in the Middle and Upper Fraser watershed. Beyond the salmon themselves, rebuilding populations of Fraser River Chinook is vital for the recovery of endangered Southern Resident killer whales.

Genetic sample analysis – $10,000

Along with travel for a field crew (gas and ferries), our small boat fuel for capturing salmon in the saltmarsh, moorage, boat repairs and maintenance, the hard costs of our 2017 Fraser estuary field program stand at $36,650. Biological field research takes time and it’s expensive. It’s also crucial in enabling us to act as informed advocates.

If you can contribute $10, $50, $100 or a larger amount, it gives us that much more time to focus on what we do best, producing science that matters.

For the estuary, the Fraser River’s wild salmon, and the 78 Southern Resident killer whales.

By Misty MacDuffee
Raincoast Wild Salmon Program Director
Raincoast Conservation Foundation

Photo Credits: Ross Dixon

Source Article: Raincoast Wild Salmon Program

Join us this Friday at the Pender Island Community Hall for a Raincoast killer whale fundraiser with musician Luke Wallace -see link for details

A fyke net, Steve, killer whales and the Bella Rose

Photo: Ross Dixon