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The Capelin Observers Network
posts its data online!
The Capelin Observers Network

Fisheries and Oceans Canada has posted the Capelin Observers Network Internet Registry online. The network’s members conduct a community watch to locate reproduction sites and catalogue capelin spawning periods.

Observers who have used the special phone line in recent years to report capelin spawning observations in the Estuary and Gulf of St. Lawrence can now also use this new tool. It will also serve to pool all the information gathered in eastern Canada in a single registry.

Since its creation in 2002, the network has recorded over 170 active capelin spawning sites in Quebec, and has 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.

From 2002 to 2009, the number of Network observers and observations climbed steadily, producing an overview of the range of capelin reproduction areas along the shore. However, the 2010 season produced less information; we cannot say precisely whether this is because spawning was less prevalent or because fewer observations were reported.

Season 2010

Over the course of the 2010 season, 44 observers reported 129 observations. Of these, 93 observations involved spawning activity while 32 other reported signs of capelin presence and one indicated that capelin were absent. Three other observations did not indicate clearly whether there was spawning or some other type thereof or lack of activity. These observations were made in 31 different sectors or areas and on 32 beaches or portions of beaches. A new site was catalogued in 2010, the Anse à Mouille-Cul sector at Bic (Rimouski).

Evolution in the number of observers and reported observations
Why should you report your observations?

The information gathered by the Network helps improve protection for capelin spawning grounds, particularly during reproduction and incubation periods. For instance, measures to mitigate impacts on the habitat can be recommended when work is done near reproduction sites.

Where and when will the capelin roll in 2011?

Again this year, the Capelin Observers Network is calling on you to participate in gathering data. To submit your observations online during the season of if you have any questions, you can contact us!

Capelin Observers Network

Pierre Nellis
Ecosystems Management
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