Qualicum Beach couple part of Pacific Salmon Foundation’s ‘mosquito fleet’

These ‘citizen scientists’ use state-of-the-art equipment to gather data

A Qualicum Beach couple are good examples of the crucial fleet of locals who are making the Pacific Salmon Foundation’s Citizen Science Program a success.

Ryan and Nicole Frederickson are two of the many volunteers taking part in the foundation’s Salish Sea Marine Survival Project, trying to understand the causes of declines in coho and chinook salmon in the Strait of Georgia and wider Salish Sea.

“When my wife Nicole first heard about the project, she said that we needed to be a part of it,” said Ryan Fredrickson. “It is something that is making a difference, helping to manage a natural resource and making the fishery sustainable once again for future generations.”

The brainchild of Dr. Eddy Carmack — a retired scientist from the Institute of Ocean Sciences, Fisheries and Oceans Canada — it involves volunteers using a “mosquito fleet” of their own fishing vessels to do surveys in nine overlapping Salish Sea areas, including “Qualicum.”

This gives scientists a much greater reach to make accurate, consistent data comparisons, according to a news release.

The “citizen scientists” use state of the art equipment to gather data like salinity, temperature, fluorescence and oxygen content, which is then transmitted with a ‘Community Fishers’ smart phone app, to a system where it is freely available to anyone.

They also measure water nutrients, collect plankton and water turbidity measurements by hand.

“I hope we can gain a greater understanding for the salmon living in the Salish Sea, and we can help to keep the resource a viable one for our family, friends and anyone else who shares a passion for, or makes a living from, the sea,” Ryan concluded.

“As well, we want to be able to tell our children one day that we were a part of a project that bettered them and the world we live in.”

“The Fredericksons’ life experiences with salmon and fishing are really important, because they get to the heart of what this is all about,” said Dr. Brian Riddell, president and CEO of the foundation. “That kind of commitment to the future of Pacific salmon is why the program will be a success.”

The program is a partnership between the foundation, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, and Ocean Networks Canada. The Marine Survival Project is supported by the federal government, Pacific Salmon Commission, the Pacific Salmon Endowment Fund Society, the federal Salmon Conservation Stamp, and numerous other contributors. Working with 14 other partners, the foundation has been able to undertake 38 projects so far in 2015.

Qualicum Beach residents can help support the foundation by attending the 2015 Oceanside Dinner/Dance and Auction on January 30, 2016 at the Qualicum Beach Civic Centre. For information visit www.psf.ca/events.

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