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Special Edition – National Volunteer Week
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Volunteers in the field:
Learning more about aquatic species
Capelin Observers Network C. Tremblay
Capelin Observers Network

Since 2002, the members of the Capelin Observers Network have been conducting a community watch to locate reproduction sites and catalogue capelin spawning periods. This network owes its existence and expansion to the participation of numerous citizens and coastal residents and the collaboration of four ZIP committees (Côte Nord du Golfe, Rive Nord de l’Estuaire, Sud de l’Estuaire, Baie des Chaleurs) as well as the Réseau d’observation des mammifères marins, Conseil régional de l’environnement Gaspésie–Îles-de-la-Madeleine, Réseau des observateurs sous-marins and Amphibia-Nature.

The numerous volunteer observers have recorded over 170 active capelin spawning sites in Quebec, and have noticed significant variations in spawning periods from year to year at some sites. The Network now hopes to obtain observation data from Atlantic Canada to have the most precise information possible about the species breeding grounds.

Aquatic Invasive Species Warning Network

On the Magdalen Islands, Fisheries and Oceans Canada can now count on the valuable collaboration of the members of the Aquatic Invasive Species Warning Network. This network, an essential monitoring tool established in 2006, brings together people who through their professional occupations are in close contact with the aquatic environment. Its members include fishers, aquaculturers, divers, naturalists and other community stakeholders who report their observations of aquatic invasive species.

Aquatic Invasive Species Warning Network
DFO  F. Hazel

Eagle eyes ever on the look-out, the Network’s members increase the likelihood that new invasive species will be quickly detected and action taken as soon as possible to keep such species from gaining a foothold and spreading throughout Islands waters. Another goal of the network is to obtain information—on an ongoing basis—about the ranges of invasive species that have already become established.

The Network is not alone in this endeavour, eel fishers also work actively with the Department to report their green crab catches; this invasive species regularly visits their eel nets. Each crab they remove from the water is another one that will not be able to reproduce there and will not destroy the Magdalen Islands marine environment.

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