Forage Fish Sampling

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Position description: 

As part of the Pender Harbours Coastal Waters Monitoring Program, we are currently collecting long term data sets for monitoring programs, including forage fish monitoring. Forage fish are a small feeder fish that links the plantonic trophic levels with the larger fish and mammals in the marine environment. We are monitoring 2 forage fish beach spawners (Pacific sandlance and Surf smelt) within the Pender Harbour area and Thormanby Island. We sample two beaches in Pender Harbour (Baker Beach and Martin Cove) and 2 locations at the gap on Thormanby Island. We sample every three weeks in the winter and every two weeks in the summer seasons. We set up 2 transects to collect sediment samples and process them through a series of screens. We then"vortex the sample and collect a subsample to be processed at the office under the microscope. Sampling generally takes between 2-3 hours at the beach. Processing at the lab generally takes approximately 2 hours per sample. Our current schedule is:

March 27, 10am - 3pm Bakers Beach, Francis Peninsula

April 10, 12pm - 5pm Martin Cove, Francis Peninsula

April 17, 9am - 3pm Bakers Beach, Francis Peninsula

April 24, 11am - 5pm Thormanby Island (2 sites)

May 1, 8am - 1pm Martin Cove, Francis Peninsula

May 15, 8am - 1pm Martin Cove and Baker Beach, Francis Peninsula

May 21, 10am - 6pm Thormanby Island

May 29, 8am - 12pm Martin Cove, Francis Peninsula

June 4, 9am - 5pm Thormanby Island

June 12, 8am - 1pm Martin Cove and Baker Beach, Francis Peninsula 

June 19, 9am - 6pm Thormanby Island (2 sites)

June 26, 7am - 12pm Martin Cove, Francis Peninsula

Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions.


Volunteers will help conduct scientific monitoring for beach spawning forage fish. This will include setting up transects, collecting sediment sample, collecting data and processing data on a mobile device, all under the direction of our field biologist. Samples are then processed under microscope to look for, and collect, any eggs in the sediment samples.


This is a citizen science program with no experience necessary. This project is open to people with all skill levels and all ages. It is a great way to enjoy some beach time, meet some new people and give back to the community in a positive way.

Role is suitable for: 
All Ages
How to apply: 
Contact person: 
Jenn Blancard
Volunteer Centre: 
Cause Tags: 
Education & Research
Environment & Animals
Position type:
Number of volunteers required:
Position start/end date:
19 Mar 2019 to 30 Jun 2019
Time Committment:
2 Hours Total
Time of day:
Work location:
Madeira Park, BC