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Lingcod Egg Mass Survey

Credit: Donna Gibbs
Credit: Donna Gibbs
Credit: Donna Gibbs
Credit: Lois Haesler
Credit: Donna Gibbs

Calling All Divers

By taking part in the Annual Lingcod Egg Mass Survey, you are helping to gather important information about a valuable local resource. We should be very concerned when a stock has reached 3-5 percent of what it was a century ago. Divers participating in this annual survey collect information on the number, size, condition, and position of egg masses, as well as whether or not a guarding male is present. Data such as these help us determine the health of local lingcod populations.

The 2018 Survey took place place January 27 to March 11, 2018. During this time divers gathered data on lingcod egg masses. The 2019 survey will take place early next year, please check back for updates. 

If you have any questions, or would like an information package sent to you, please email fishlab@vanaqua.org.

Note: Some instructions on data collection techniques have changed. Please download the Instruction Package and read it thoroughly before heading out on your dives. Thank You!

Enter Survey Data


Jan - Mar , 2019


Local British Columbia coast


Instruction Package

Data Sheet

2018 LEMS Report


Divers Wanted
By Rendezvous Dive Adventures


How The Survey Began

In 1994, the Marine Life Sanctuaries Society (MLSS) created a project to involve the sport diving community in assisting with the collection of data on lingcod populations. At the time the commercial lingcod fishery in Georgia Strait had recently been closed, and the sport fishery was restricted by new size limits and annual bag limits. This project, now sponsored and organized by the Vancouver Aquarium, is called the Lingcod Egg Mass Survey (LEMS).

The Importance Of Timing

The survey is carried out just after mature female lingcod spawn. After spawning, the female leaves the male to guard the nest site. The size of the egg mass indicates the age of the spawning female while the number of egg masses observed in a given area helps researchers determine lingcod abundance. The survey uses data collected by volunteer divers to evaluate the status of lingcod populations on the coast of B.C. These data provide information on the reproductive outputs of lingcod, as well as an insight into the age structure of the female lingcod population.

The Importance Of Timing
Lingcod eggs

Natural Bottom Dwellers

The lingcod is a bottom dwelling fish that inhabits the local waters of B.C.'s coast. Lingcod can grow up to 1.5 meters in length and weigh up to 45 kg. Lingcod spawn from December through to early April in the Strait of Georgia, with peak egg mass abundance in late February. The males guard the egg masses, which resemble Styrofoam, for over a month, until hatching. The behavior of the guarding male and the distinctive appearance of the egg masses are easily identified by volunteer divers.

Lingcod At The Aquarium

The lingcod projects at the Vancouver Aquarium, including the Lingcod Egg Mass Survey and lingcod rearing in the research laboratory, have emerged due to serious concerns regarding the overfishing of lingcod stocks. Strait of Georgia Lingcod stocks are just 7-22 percent of what they were 100 years ago except for the Vancouver area, at less than 1 percent. In 1990, the commercial fishery for lingcod was stopped and in 2002, sportfishing for lingcod was banned in the Strait of Georgia.
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