Established in 1996, the Howe Sound Research and Conservation Group (HSRCG) support the efforts of the Vancouver Aquarium's Fish Research Team with an annual pledge of $1,000 per donor. Under the direction of Dr. Jeff Marliave, researchers conduct natural history studies, do baseline documentary work and monitor depleted groundfish stocks, enabling us to help enhance and protect marine life. Our Fish Research Team is the only continuous field presence monitoring Howe Sound, as well as the only continuous program in the entire Strait of Georgia region.
Adjacent to downtown Vancouver, Howe Sound is one of North America's southernmost fjords. With waters up to 800ft deep, Howe Sound is home to more than 650 different species of fish and invertebrates. Howe Sound is one of the first regions in B.C. to experience depletion of groundfish stocks (such as rockfishes and lingcod). Howe Sound is also facing pollution from pulp mills and mining, but little biological monitoring of the area has made it difficult to determine the harm done to marine life.
Aquarium Research And Conservation
The Fish Research program has integrated laboratory rearing of fish and shrimp from local marine waters with natural history study of these species in the field. The Vancouver Aquarium has conducted research in Howe Sound that has included long term monitoring of boot and cloud sponges, the re-introduction of black rockfish, annual surveys of lingcod spawning and juvenile spot prawns, rockfish monitoring and conservation, and efforts to photo-document the nature of Howe Sound's underwater habitats.
Our Fish Research Team
The support of the HSRCG is shared between the integrated laboratory and field efforts of our Fish Research Team. Since the inception of the HSRCG, the success of laboratory propagation has become unprecedented (see our Fish Research Propagation Project). This success not only results in further scientific documentation of early life histories, but provides specimens which make the Vancouver Aquarium a producer, rather than a consumer, of aquatic wildlife.
Vancouver Aquarium, with the support of Sitka Foundation, is conducting a two-year Howe Sound biological monitoring program called Counting on Howe Sound as part of its commitment to researching and enhancing the health of the Howe Sound ecosystem. This initiative identifies and assesses marine species at several locations in Howe Sound while teaching our next generation of taxonomists how to identify the species who call the area home. The information gathered is being used to teach students in schools and communities through the Aquarium’s AquaVan and school programs about the amazing natural community under the water right outside of their front doors, and to inspire them to keep learning more about marine biodiversity. Learn more.