Tag Archives: fish migration

Herring spawn

Herring spawn

This year’s (2018) herring spawn was a great event and is currently still going on. The initial spawn was further south than normal. It started at Qualicum Beach and went to Madoona Point.  Only after a week it showed up in the Comox  area and may get as far north as Campbell river.

Subvision Productions was on site to witness the herring spawn in the setting of beautiful Vancouver Island. The shoot combined aerial shots  with land based and some in water filming. The nature of the spawn is such that the visibility under water become non existent and the sperm the male herring release colors the coast line a chalk like milk blue.

Aerial image of herring spawn
Aerial image of herring spawn

The conditions were not too bad as the mix of clouds and sun brought its challenges. But the golden light at the end of the first day made for beautiful shots.

Herring spawn back ground:

The story of the herring spawn  is a long standing one and the annual migration was an important part of the First Nation food provision. Each year in late winter and early spring, thousands of tonnes of herring migrate from deeper offshore areas to nearshore habitats and spawn en masse.  The spawn can been seen for miles along the shallow shores where the water is filled with white with herring  milt and eggs.

Herring eggs on kelp
Herring eggs on kelp

Next to the annual fishery by humans which was and still is a significant economic activity, it also provides food for many animals. Eagles, gulls, ducks cormorants and many more birds get an extra protein boost from the eggs but also fish for the herring.  Sea lions are a noisy predator in contrast with the harbour seals. Both species go after the herring and the sea lions often steal the herring out of the nets.

California sea lions
California sea lions

Like salmon, herring are a key species and , culturally or economically important. With that it is clear that any negative impact on their habitat can have significant impact. This is underlined by the slow recovery of the herring on the West coast of Vancouver Island where the species was over-fished for years and struggles to recover.

 

All footage was shot in 4K and will be available as stock footage. Sample footage will be posted at our Youtube channel.