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FisH and WiLdLiFe continued

Herring and other forage fish species are a primary food source for salmon and some marine birds and mammals. Forage fish play a key role in the food chain by converting energy from plankton and krill to fat and protein needed by predators. While surf smelt still spawn on the beaches in the Outer Harbour,12 other forage fish are now scarce. For example, Burrard Inlet once supported tremendous schools of herring (Matthews 1955), the species depicted in Figure 7. However, between 1882 and 1884 Joseph Sprat massively overharvested these fish for his fish-rendering plant located in what is now Stanley Park. They were extinct in Burrard Inlet by 1885 (Kheraj 2013). Only recently have small populations returned (Hume 2009).

Photo by Caroline Fox/www.raincoast.org

Figure 7—Herring

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12

See www.pac.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/fm-gp/commercial/pelagic-pelagique/smelt-eperlan/index-eng.html

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