Marine survival project findings set for release

Citizen Scientists

The Salish Sea Marine Survival Project (SSMSP) is coordinated by non-profits, Vancouver-based Pacific Salmon Foundation (PSF) and Seattle-based Long Live the Kings. The project was designed as a five-year, $20 million, ecosystem-based, interdisciplinary and transboundary study involving government, universities, private consultants, local communities, and not-for-profit groups. When the PSF sent out a call for citizen scientists in 2014, the Ruby Lake Lagoon Society was developing the idea of PODS and looking to fill gaps in marine monitoring along the Sunshine Coast. A group of volunteer citizen scientists answered their call and a crew was established including local fishermen, educators, retired professionals, and international and local students.

Four years have passed and this dedicated crew have ventured out of Secret Cove aboard retired prawn boat, the Mariana II, helping collect thousands of zooplankton and water samples on the Malaspina Strait. When the boat returns to dock, data is uploaded to SSMSP and samples are shuttled into Vancouver on ice to be shared with researchers at universities and government labs. Technical assistance is provided by Ocean Networks Canada. 

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The Salish Sea Marine Survival Project was designed to address one key question: What are the primary factors affecting juvenile chinook, coho and steelhead survival in the Salish Sea marine environment? 

More specifically, researchers are studying young salmon and steelhead growth, health, and diet in the Salish Sea; tracking fish and marine mammal movements; monitoring marine conditions; and developing innovative technologies to answer critical questions facing salmon recovery and sustainable fisheries.

Now in its final year, the Pacific Salmon Foundation is ready to report out on findings to date in communities around the Strait of Georgia, including the Sunshine Coast. 

Dr. Brian Riddell, CEO of the Pacific Salmon Foundation, will speak at the Pender Harbour School of Music at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 6 on The Salish Sea Marine Survival Project: Findings and Next Steps. Come early to enjoy the HUGS Ukulele perform songs for salmon at 6:30 p.m. Original works of salmon art will be on display created by Pender Harbour artists.  

– Submitted by Lee-Ann Ennis

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