The Mid Vancouver Island Habitat Enhancement Society (MVIHES) has recently become aware of an experimental project to harvest beach-cast Mazzaella japonica in the area from Deep Bay to Qualicum Beach.
In the past year MVIHES volunteers have been trained and engaged in forage fish mapping in the Parksville / Qualicum Beach Wildlife Management Area.
We felt that this was an activity that could help to address the need to protect the marine environment from further decline. The experience has educated us about the importance of beach ecology and how that relates to the marine environment.
How ironic then that just as people are becoming aware of the importance of the seaweed on our beaches and the loss of spawning habitat of forage fish (i.e. sand lance, surf smelt and herring) due to shoreline disruptions, a project like this comes along and adds more stressors to both issues.
We can appreciate the need for jobs in the area, but we believe those jobs have to be weighed against the losses in other areas, such as a healthy nearshore ecosystem, fishing and recreation.