by Heather Grant & Katie Schleit
Something’s up with our herring. Starting around the second last week of November, reports started coming in of dead or dying Atlantic herring washing up on beaches in large numbers. These reports haven’t stopped (they even seem to be spreading) and while there are a number of possibilities as to why these fish are dying and washing up on shore, such as parasites, disease or pollution, there’s no clear cause that’s been determined so far. We know that Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) is doing testing, however this testing takes time and the Department’s capacity is limited, so it’s difficult for them to respond to all the calls and visit every site where these dead fish are appearing.
We’re calling on you and anyone you know to help collect important information that can be passed on to DFO science and others who are trying to figure this out, that might help solve the mystery of the dead Bay of Fundy herring. These forage fish are extremely important to the Bay of Fundy ecosystem and already face significant threats from fishing and climate change. Herring help to feed the whales, sharks, tuna and seabirds off our coast and several of our most valuable fisheries rely on them for bait.
If you live near a herring die-off site, or expect to be near one, please record the date, time, location of the dead fish and any notable observations, such as a rough estimate of numbers, whether the fish are still alive or whether they appear to have died recently, the weather, if there are other species that have also washed up dead, and any other things you are able to note. We also encourage you to take pictures. You can submit all the information you’ve collected and upload your photos through the Google Form below. We will compile all this information and make sure it gets into the hands of those who are trying to find an answer.
Please circulate this widely to anyone you think might be interested and able to help us to collect this information! Many thanks.
Or copy and paste this link: https://script.google.com/macros/s/AKfycbwCsJ9dt4PgEOpfYKWEaoRROdLN5GYPkQfU7TZRXykEd2UA898/exec