As Chinook retention returns to many locations in BC in July, we hope that you will consider setting aside your Chinook and coho guts in the name of science. Since 2017, our group at the University of Victoria has been working with British Columbia’s public fishing community to better understand the ecosystem that supports our salmon resource. To read more about the program you can check out this previous article in Island Fisherman.
Why Does The Salmon Diet Program Exist?
What salmon eat informs us about what prey are available in our waters. Changes from year to year can help us understand how the marine ecosystem is changing. Working with anglers also provides a great venue for the two-way exchange of information. We update anglers annually on our results, and we are always keen to document new observations on the water or to answer questions from the community.
How To Participate
It’s simple: Individually bag the digestive tracts (stomach and intestine) from Chinook and coho that you catch, and record (at a minimum) date, location, species, length, and whether the fish is clipped or unclipped.
Include your email address to be included in our incentives (see below). Freeze the guts as soon as possible, and drop off at one of our depot locations (see end of the article) or contact [email protected] to arrange for pickup. We have waterproof data cards that can be mailed out or picked up from totes in depot freezers; alternatively, record info on scrap paper in pencil and just stick it in the bag with the guts.
Back in the lab we do the hard work, counting, measuring, and taking samples for a variety of programs, ranging from microplastic contamination to herring genetics.
A record 446 intact Pacific sand lance from the stomach of a Chinook caught in June 2019 at Seath Point, Haida Gwaii by Langara Island Lodge guest Jeremy Koreski and guide Dave Taylor.
What’s New For 2020
We are expanding both our incentives for participation and the feedback that we provide to participants. As in previous years we are grateful to Islander Precision Reels for the donation of an Islander MR2LA and to AP Tackleworks for the donation of a Salish Sea Spoon pack. Every stomach submitted with an email address will get one entry in draws for these prizes to be held in early 2021. Also new in 2020, each participant who submits 10 or more stomachs will also receive a program cap featuring artwork from our group’s own Hailey Davis.
At the end of the year, all participants will again be sent an electronic copy of the annual report summarizing results of the program to date. Beginning in 2020, we will also be putting together individual reports. These reports will document the stomach contents of fish submitted by each individual angler and will be emailed out annually.
Current Depot Locations
- Island Outfitters (Victoria) Currently Unavailable Due to Fire
- Home Hardware (Sidney)
- Harbour Chandler (Nanaimo)
- Tyee Marine (Campbell River)
- Pacific Net and Twine (Parksville)
- Bon Chovy Charters (Granville Island)
- Stillwater Sports (Ladner)
- Pacific Angler (Vancouver)
- Bamfield Mercantile and Marine (Bamfield)
- Ucluelet Aquarium (Ucluelet)
Added September 28, 2019:
- Esquimalt Anglers Clubhouse (Esquimalt)
- Powell River Outdoors (Powell River)
- Chapman Creek Hatchery (Sechelt)
Will Duguid, M.Sc., is a member of the Department of Biology at the University of Victoria.