Forage Fish Spawning Surveys
Forage fish (generally, small fish eaten by larger animals) are a crucial link in the marine food web, feeding salmon, seabirds and a variety of marine mammals from seals to orcas. The three most common forage fish species in Puget Sound include Pacific herring (Clupea pallasi), surf smelt (Hypomesus pretiosus) and Pacific sand lance (Ammodytes hexapterus). The MRC helps collect information about the latter two species, which spawn intertidally, their eggs sticking to sandy or gravely beaches. Knowing where and when this spawning occurs is critical for protecting these species and their spawning habitat, which in turn supports a resilient marine food web. Learn more about forage fish here.