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

It takes this and more as we begin our second season of juvenile salmon research on the Fraser Estuary

It takes this and more to locate, capture, sample, release and analyse the results from our juvenile salmon field research in the Fraser River estuary. On the Fraser’s shallow saltmarsh, a specialised 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 specialised shallow draft fishing vessel essential to safely working in the estuary’s tides and shifting sands.

Raincoast biologists Misty MacDuffee and Dave Scott on the deck of the Bella Rose

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 came 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.

Biological field research takes time and focus.  Tweet This!

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,
Misty MacDuffee
Raincoast Wild Salmon Program Director

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

Fraser River Estuary

You can help

Raincoast’s in-house scientists, collaborating graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and professors make us unique among conservation groups. We work with First Nations, academic institutions, government, and other NGOs to build support and inform decisions that protect aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems, and the wildlife that depend on them. We conduct ethically applied, process-oriented, and hypothesis-driven research that has immediate and relevant utility for conservation deliberations and the collective body of scientific knowledge.

We investigate to understand coastal species and processes. We inform by bringing science to decision-makers and communities. We inspire action to protect wildlife and wildlife habitats.

Coastal wolf with a salmon in its month.
Photo by Dene Rossouw.