MARS Moment: Herring spawn to produce increased marine life activity near shoreline

Seagulls and other marine birds packed the shoreline at Kye Bay in March (2020), as the herring roe provided a feast for the feathered community. Photo by Terry FarrellSeagulls and other marine birds packed the shoreline at Kye Bay in March (2020), as the herring roe provided a feast for the feathered community. Photo by Terry Farrell
Hal Schulz would come to the Record office every year with photos of the herring spawn, taken from his plane. Hal Passed away in December 2019.Hal Schulz would come to the Record office every year with photos of the herring spawn, taken from his plane. Hal Passed away in December 2019.
An aerial photo of the herring spawn off Hornby Island. Photo courtesy Mountainaire Avian Rescue SocietyAn aerial photo of the herring spawn off Hornby Island. Photo courtesy Mountainaire Avian Rescue Society
Sea lions will be in abundance as they feast on the herring. Photo courtesy Mountainaire Avian Rescue Society.Sea lions will be in abundance as they feast on the herring. Photo courtesy Mountainaire Avian Rescue Society.

Jane Thomson

Special to Black Press

Wild times are coming to a local beach!

This month one of nature’s most exciting spectacles is coming to the Comox Valley: late February and March is time for the herring spawn, an event that draws congregations of salmon, sea lions, killer whales, eagles and other wildlife to the Valley’s protected inlets.

A single female herring will lay an average of 20,000 eggs, which become sticky on contact with seawater and attach to anything nearby, while local waters turn a milky blue from the milt released by millions of male herring. Great views of the feverish activity can be had along the beaches between Union Bay and Fanny Bay or Denman and Hornby Islands.

The frenetic herring have also been scooped up by humans for thousands of years and this remains one of our most lucrative fisheries, but there is now great concern that it may not be sustainable. (See bit.ly/3qXJ6Uc) To watch the fishing fleet in action, head to the French Creek Marina in Parksville.

Stay away from your hedges

Resident Anna’s Hummingbirds and other feathered friends are nesting now so please don’t trim those hedges! — and those pesky but adorable baby raccoons may soon be discovered in your shed, under your deck or trailer or in your attic unless you take precautions. On that note, if you DO discover unwanted raccoons, please call MARS for advice on safely moving them – we don’t want to orphan any of our wildlife! For advice or lots of great photos, videos, news on recent rescues, visit our Facebook page or website: Marswildliferescue.com.

Jane Thomson is a volunteer for the Mountainaire Avian Rescue Society

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