The Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD), in partnership with Friends of Forage Fish, hosted a successful public workshop on shorelines and forage fish Monday, Sept. 9 at the SCRD office on Field Road.
More than 25 members of the public, SCRD board members and SCRD staff spent the afternoon learning about forage fish and their importance to marine food webs, the locations of important forage fish habitat on the Sunshine Coast, potential changes to provincial regulations to protect forage fish and different strategies to ensure that shoreline development will not adversely affect forage fish habitat.
Presenters included provincial specialist and biologist Ramona de Graaf, community coordinator Diane Sanford and Vancouver Island landscape architect Patrick Harrison. Questions from the public were fielded throughout the session.
“It is good to see such strong public turnout and interest in forage fish and the diverse habitats and ecosystems found on the Sunshine Coast,” said SCRD board chair Gary Nohr.
de Graaf and Sanford also provided an overview of the many community projects around forage fish and shoreline habitats currently underway across the Sunshine Coast — including the eelgrass mapping and restoration work of the Seagrass Conservation Working Group and the forage fish sampling projects conducted by the Friends of Forage Fish.
Harrison presented two shoreline development case studies that illustrated the importance of natural beach profiles in mitigating shoreline erosion and maintaining productive forage fish habitats.
“The role of forage fish in marine food webs and larger ecosystems is often overlooked, so it is important to take every opportunity to increase public awareness around how development can impact these fish,” added SCRD planner Teresa Fortin.
For more information on community projects regarding shorelines and forage fish contact Friends of Forage Fish (http://www.friendsofforagefish.com/) or the Seagrass Conservation Working Group (email@example.com).