An illustration of the Jordania Zonope by Joseph Tomelleri

Dozens of new fish species identified in waters off Parksville Qualicum Beach

That makes for 253 fish species in the Salish Sea, which includes the Strait of Georgia

Coho salmon may need to move over and make room for the likes of the Pacific viperfish, long snout prickleback and Jordania Zonope.

According to a new report spearheaded by University of Washington biologist Ted Pietsch, Fishes of the Salish Sea: a compilation and distributional analysis, the number of marine fish is up 14 per cent in the Salish Sea from the last survey conducted in 1980.

That makes for 253 fish species in the Salish Sea, which encompasses the Strait of Georgia, Puget Sound, the Strait of Juan de Fuca, the San Juan Islands and the Canadian Gulf Islands.

In total, 37 new species were added, and five species were removed from the list because researchers couldn’t find evidence of their presence in the Salish Sea.

VIU Deep Bay Marine Field Station manager Brian Kingzett said the data comes as no surprise — but it opens the door to a plethora of possibilities.

“As water warms it’s absolutely expected we will see new and novel species as the species move northward,” he told The NEWS Tuesday, noting the North Pacific is about three degrees warmer offshore.

“This is also being seen in Europe.”

Subsequently, Kingzett said fish native to the Georgia Strait may also move northward as water warms.

“This could mean predator-prey interactions change as well, for example, we could get highly predatorial species we don’t have,” he said. “Probably the biggest ramifications will be for local fish in things like the warming of freshwater returning salmon like Sockeye as the water may get too warm or too dry.”

The report, published last week by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, includes a full taxonomic list as well as an analysis of geographic distribution and relative local abundance, along with common and scientific names and key references to learn more about each species.

“It’s quite astonishing to think that people haven’t really known what’s here in any detail,” Pietsch said. “In preparing this report, we’ve really turned over every stone to make sure we have every fish species ever recorded from our inland marine waters.”

The paper’s other author is Jay Orr, a scientist with the Alaska Fisheries Science Center and a former graduate student of Pietsch’s. Their exhaustive report represents the first thorough survey and analysis of Salish Sea fishes in 35 years.

The report is a precursor to a book coming out in the next few years that will feature illustrations of all 253 Salish Sea fish species.

This report and the eventual book will be useful for scientists, anglers, educators and others in identifying Salish fishes, tracking the distribution and abundance of known species, assessing the health of their habitat and determining when these populations might be in danger of disappearing.

“If you don’t first know what you have, it’s impossible to know what you might be losing,” Pietsch said.

Just Posted

Nine animals find fur-ever homes after special Parksville SPCA event

Province-wide half-price adoption deal homes 212 animals

Man, 50, dies following incident in downtown Parksville

Teenage girl hailed as hero for intervening after witnessing situation unfold

BCHL’s Alberni Valley Bulldogs move game to Parksville due to ice rink closure

Prince George and Bulldogs to battle it out Tuesday, Nov. 19 at Oceanside Place

Teen with cancer whose viral video urged Canadians to vote has died, uncle tweets

Maddison Yetman had been looking forward to voting in her first federal election since junior high school

Rowing Canada, UVic investigate celebrated coach for harassment, abuse

Lily Copeland says she felt intimidated and trapped by Williams

Cleanup in the works after tanker truck fire leads to oil spill in B.C.’s Peace region

The province said the majority of the spilled oil likely burned away in the fire.

Fisherman missing near Lake Cowichan’s Shaw Creek

Family is asking for everyone and anyone to keep their eyes open,… Continue reading

BC VIEWS: Action needed on healthcare workplace violence

While we’ve been talking about it, the number of B.C. victims has only grown

Closing arguments begin in B.C. case launched in 2009 over private health care

Dr. Day said he illegally opened the Cambie Surgery Centre in 1996 in order to create more operating-room time

MacLean says “Coach’s Corner is no more” following Cherry’s dismissal from Hockey Night

Cherry had singled out new immigrants in for not honouring Canada’s veterans and fallen soldiers

MacKinnon powers Avs to 5-4 OT win over Canucks

Vancouver battled back late to pick up single point

Poole’s Land finale: Tofino’s legendary ‘hippie commune’ being dismantled

Series of land-use fines inspire owner Michael Poole to sell the roughly 20-acre property.

Most Read