The Sunshine Coast Friends of Forage Fish volunteer group would like to once again inform the public — especially all those gardeners — that herring spawn season is upon us.
As a practice, mulching is great, but when one chooses seaweed as a mulch, a series of thoughtful decisions should be made beforehand.
First of all, what is the time of year?
February and March are herring spawning months here on the Coast, and herring will often choose seaweed as the anchor for their eggs. Even when the egg- laden seaweed gets broken off and washed up on the beach, those eggs can survive until the next high tide. By taking seaweed then, there is the potential to destroy thousands of herring eggs. None should be collected at this time.
Secondly, how much will I take, and how often?
There are a lot of us in the world now, including the Sunshine Coast, and our cumulative impact is significant. The seaweed line is home to many amphipods (small sea creatures) and provides shelter, shade and moisture to others between the tidal periods. Do you really need seaweed for a mulch?
Finally, is there something with less impact that I can use to mulch?
Many of us throw out great mulch materials like grass clippings, compost, or sawdust. Why not use them?
If you must collect seaweed as mulch for your garden, take only small amounts from over a large area to minimize the impact on this special area of our world, and not during the months of February and March.
The Sunshine Coast Friends of Forage Fish is a local volunteer group that has been diligently sampling Sunshine Coast beaches for the presence of forage fish eggs. They have had recent positive findings of Pacific sand lance eggs at Trail Bay and Halfmoon Bay.
For more information or to volunteer call Dianne Sanford, volunteer coordinator, at 604-885-6283, email email@example.com or visit friendsofforagefish.com.