While this was indeed a spectacular sight - one which occurs far less frequently than it used to - nature better 'find a way' inasmuch as the herring fishery and industry have been in decline in coastal BC and especially east VanIsle waters for many years.
I've critiqued DFO in the past for many sins of omission but one thing they do and have done very well over many decades is undertake detailed studies of certain fishery-species using whatever historic records, scientific and technological tools they have at their disposal at that time; and they've done so for about 80 years meaning there exists much valuable data with regard to certain species, herring certainly being one of those. They are a critical piece in the marine environment as herring are a big part of the diet of BC salmon, particularly chinook salmon - and salmon are the foundational species of everything above them in the larger eco-foodchain.
In recent years there has been - thankfully, finally - increased awareness and concern by industry, government and the public about the environmental protection of Pacific herring spawning grounds, which have been in long decline from a herring reproduction and productivity standpoint.
An increasing number of nearshore developments, such as log booming activities and marine/aqua-culture establishments have drastically affected many inter-tidal and shallow, sub-tidal spawning areas utilized historically by herring. Anyone who grew up in Victoria and is of a certain age will recall the long bygone days when herring spawned in vast numbers in and near the gorge waterway. You don't need to look very hard online to find images of hundreds of people jigging for herring off the Admirals Rd bridge. Those days are a distant memory. Today there is very little to no evidence of herring making a comeback in the waterway in spite of concerted efforts in recent years to clean it up after a hundred years of industrial degradation.
The impacts of oil spills, pollution, various inshore commercial fisheries above all, in addition to warming oceans on herring spawning distributions are also all identified by the DFO data as significant concerns. Perhaps of highest concern with the identification of nearshore areas as herring spawning habitat is that much of the BC coast, perhaps 19% or more according to the data, has been utilized as a herring spawning site at least once during the last 75 years. However, much less of this coastline - estimates vary but range only from 1-2% per DFO - is used for repetitive spawning over a number of years.
The herring are clearly vulnerable so lets hope this activity off the north end of the island was a sign the fish are adapting and migrating to these new spawning grounds and thriving, as opposed to it representing a last desperate gasp of a declining, dying species.
Edited by AllseeingEye, 30 March 2023 - 11:26 PM.