Sunny Day

Weather

  • Visibility: 15+ miles, Mt. Baker visible in the late afternoon
  • Wind: 0-5 knots North, later up to 10-15 North
  • Sky: clear and sunny
  • Water: rippled

Ecological

  • Still only the weaner on Great Race.
  • Very cute!

Maintenance

  • Cleaned the solar panels.
  • Various daily and bi-daily tasks.

Boats

  • At least 4 eco-tours came by today.
  • One of them was likely too close to the sea lions on the South Islands, as there was a stampede.
  • One boat was definitely fishing within the Rockfish Conservation Area, but I was unable to identify any numbers on the boat, and I suspect they were First Nations, which would make it none of my concern.
  • One sailboat wandered through in the early afternoon.

March 16 – Camera, Crane and Coruscating Sun

Sunny
Wind: 5-16 knots from the SW and S in the early morning, NE until 17:00, SE for a few hours and calm after 20:00
Air Temperature: Low 6.6°C, High 10.3°C
Ocean Temperature: 8.9°C

The underwater camera is back up and running, after a few weeks offline. The power issue has been solved. Algae on the dome around the camera is partially obstructing the view, but it will be cleaned soon by divers from the college.

This afternoon, there were two low flying aircraft: a floatplane and a Search and Rescue Helicopter.

Three fishing boats passed through the ecological reserve today. One boat spent an hour fishing within the Rockfish Conservation Area, which is prohibited by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO). The Rockfish Conservation Area is within the 40m depth contour of Great Race Rocks and Rosedale Reef, marked by the green buoy to the southeast of Great Race Rocks.

The crane needs to be run and serviced once a month. Today, it was used to lift a 12m log from the jetty beach to the boardwalk, where it will be chopped into firewood. In hindsight, it would have made it less challenging to cut the log in half while it was on the beach. Although, 6m sections wouldn’t have been as much fun to manoeuvre with the crane.

During the low tide in the afternoon, there was a large number of harbour seals and sea lions hauled out on the rocks. Two branded steller sea lions were seen on the South Islands. Both sea lions were branded as pups at Rogue Reef, Oregon. 524R was branded in 2007. 365Y was branded in 2013.

Rockfish Conservation Areas (RCAs) in B.C.:

Screen Shot 2015-03-05 at 11.15.31 PMRockfish conservation areas in B.C.:  Our current state of knowledge
Dana Haggarty, M.Sc., PhD candidate Consultant for the David Suzuki Foundation
August 12, 2013

This 84 page report is a thorough research on the extent, purpose and effects of RCA in BC. It has very good maps of the areas involved.

See the full PDF:RockfishConservationAreas-OurCurrentStateofKnowledge-Mar2014

EXERPT: Lessons learned from RCAs

British Columbia now has almost a decade of experience with spatial protection in the network of RCAs. Several lessons from this experience should be applied to the developing MPA network:

  1. All empirical studies of RCAs reviewed in this report are limited by their lack of data from before the reserves were established. If proper foresight and resources are applied, this problem can be avoided and data can be collected prior to MPA establishment. For example, the system of marine reserves in Oregon is being phased in to allow for data to be collected prior to establishment (personal communication, D. Fox, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife). This greatly improves ability to assess performance of reserves and apply adaptive management.
  2. Long-term monitoring of reserves is necessary to determine their effectiveness. Assessments of which reserves are performing well and which reserves are underperforming are necessary ingredients for adaptive management (Hamilton, Caselle et al. 2010, White, Botsford et al. 2011). Monitoring data and reserve assessments are also necessary to gain and retain buy in from fishing communities. All fishing sectors interviewed for this report felt strongly that they wanted to see long-term monitoring put into place in RCAs and were anxious to know how RCAs were performing. However, it is difficult to get support for long-term monitoring. The need for monitoring should, therefore, be specified and planned for in the establishment of MPAs.
  3. Outreach, education and enforcement plans must also be developed and maintained for networks of MPAs. Commercial compliance with RCAs is very high since electronic fishery monitoring was put in place shortly after they were established. Recreational compliance, on the other hand, was found to be quite low. Recreational effort in 44 of 77 RCAs in the Strait of Georgia has not significantly dropped as a result of RCA establishment and compliance in many other RCAs around Vancouver Island in 2011 was also quite low. Greater education and outreach regarding RCA boundaries and regulations as well as why they are important is desperately needed. NGOs that have the ability to reach a broad spectrum of society such as the David Suzuki Foundation and the Vancouver Aquarium could play important roles in this regard. Modern tools such as smart-phone applications that employ GPS technology should be explored. These tools could both educate people about conservation initiatives as well as help people navigate in our increasingly complex world of spatially explicit management regulations. Compliance monitoring should also be built into monitoring plans to assess if regulations are having their desired effects. Enforcement must also be made a priority and supported with funding.
  4. Although many RCAs protect good rockfish habitat and contain good rockfish populations, not all RCAs are likely to be effective. Some RCAs were simply not well-located. A review of RCAs needs to be undertaken to identify which are likely to be successful and which are sub-optimal. White, Botsford et al. (2011) very elegantly put it: “Now that networks of reserves have been implemented worldwide, the time is ripe for the implementation of adaptive management. … Questions need to evolve from “Do reserves work?” to “When and why do marine reserves work, how long does it take, and what should we be measuring?”