19th Annual Lingcod Egg Mass Survey – February 4th to March 4th 2012
Every year the Vancouver Aquarium encourages scuba divers around BC to help out with the Lingcod Egg Mass Survey (LEMS). Lingcod are a local ground fish sought after by anglers and commercial fisheries because of their high quality meat. Unfortunately for this reason the Georgia Strait population have became endangered, reaching 3-5 percent of its original population. As a result, the recreational fishery was restricted and the commercial fishery closed.
With their large head, sizable teeth and large bodies, Lingcod (Ophiodon elongatus) are a formidable predator of the local waters of British Columbia. Lingcod can reach up to 152cm in length and many reports suggest they can reach larger sizes; they will prey upon smaller fish and even the giant pacific octopus. An interesting fact that is not commonly known is that the lingcod are not actually a cod at all! They belong to the Family Hexaigrammidae or greenlings. Each year between early January and late March the lingcod begin to spawn, males fight for the right to mate with the females and show the tell tale battle scars of the event. The females lay the cluster of eggs, which look like a mass of Styrofoam, hidden in cracks and crevasses, the female then leaves the nest. The male lingcod guards the egg mass or multiple egg masses with boldness, not fearing anything or any diver.
The Vancouver Aquarium survey requires divers to collect certain data such as: dive site location, depth at which the egg mass was seen, size, condition of the egg mass, where the egg mass is situated and if there is a male guarding the nest or if it has been abandoned. Divers after collecting the data can visit the Vancouver Aquarium website at www.vanaqua.org and fill out their findings. The years of data collected for the project allows researchers to understand lingcod abundance, age of the population and will help them protect lingcod for the future!
Each year Edge Divers head out to collect data! This month The Edge Diving Centre has collected over a dozen surveys at Porteau Cove, Christie Islet, Anvil Island and Kelvin Grove in support of the Vancouver Aquarium’s efforts and our continuing commitment to protect the marine environment!
Think globally, act locally.
Blog by: Mike Delaney Video by: Henry Wang