Herring Heroes

Our project monitors the spawning of Pacific Herring at False Creek. Our group is completing the fourth iteration of this project with three distinct objectives. First, what is the 2023 spawn period and egg count at Fisherman’s Wharf? Second, what abiotic factors correlate with spawning events? Lastly, do biotic factors have a relationship with spawning events? We ultimately want to create an informed methodology for the use of future conservation projects. Vote now and become a herring hero!


(Faculty of Science) Earth, Ocean & Atmospheric Sciences


Environmental Capstone - Community Project in Environmental Science (ENVR 400)


  • Tara Ivanochko
  • Michael Lipsen

City of Vancouver:

  • Angela Danyluk


  • Climate Change Adaptation Strategy; Biodiversity Strategy


Spring 2023


Undergraduates from UBC monitored the 2023 February-to-March spawning event of the Pacific Herring at Fisherman’s Wharf in False Creek. This was achieved through implementation of egg catching nets, sampling of water conditions, and scientific imagining. False Creek, an urban inlet very close to the heart of the city has been damaged by the impacts of industrialization and urbanization. The Squamish Streamkeepers have been working for the last decade to restore the Herring spawning habitat by implementing restoration measures to enhance the ecosystem. Their main contributions were wrapping creosote wood pilings with non-toxic plastic material and deploying net panels to mimic the spawning grounds (macroalgae). The City of Vancouver has also worked very hard to help keep the marina clean by setting regulations, implementing policy, and responding to contamination events that occur in False Creek. Moving forward, the City of Vancouver partnered with CityStudio, the Squamish Streamkeepers, and the University of British Columbia to observe, protect, and engage with the community to help restore these vulnerable species. Two main concepts need to be understood when determining a precursor to a major spawning event and their subsequent egg abundances. Firstly, the correlation between abiotic (water conditions) factors and preferred spawning conditions. Secondly, the connection between the appearance of non-herring species and egg deposition on the installed nets. We observed a large spawn event with 3.69 million eggs on our nets in early February and found a positive relationship in temperature and egg coverage with a negative relationship between salinity and egg coverage. Our largest recommendation is to establish a water monitoring station at False Creek to assist in water sampling, the project’s largest error. Our findings point to the continuation of monitoring and restoration efforts to gain a better understanding and how to expand this process throughout False Creek. 


Is this your favourite HUBBUB 20 project? If so, vote here to nominate it for the people’s choice award!

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