We recently hosted a conference to share our research on American eel, the future of Collaborative Indigenous Research and possible threats to eels, their habitat, and their migration or reproduction. Our continuing work on characterizing invasive parasites with our academic partner, over the next few years, focusing on baseline monitoring will take place within the Saint John Harbour.
The Atlantic sturgeon which was a primary food stock for the communities of Metepenagiag and Eel Ground in centuries past but since has become increasingly harder to find in the Miramichi river. The Atlantic sturgeon study is aimed at quantifying the number of sturgeon within the Miramichi watershed. Senior field technician Nelson Cloud has travelled with Matt Litvak from Mt. Allison University to the Saint John river to familiarize himself with the sturgeon and to educate himself on how to handle this powerful and prehistoric fish. We will be holding an information gathering session in the communities of Metepenagiag and Eel Ground in the Spring of 2013 to collect and assess the tradition ecological knowledge associated with the sturgeon.
Our work on the brook floater (a SARA-listed fresh water mussel of Special Concern) addresses the uncertainty associated with the populations and distribution in New Brunswick, as well as their critical habitat. We have conducted traditional manual surveys and have also utilized new advancements in the detection of DNA traces from water sources.
We have recently completed a three-year project along the Bouctouche and the Little Northwest Miramichi Rivers in partnership with community labour crews to survey the streams and to develop capacity for long term monitoring. Work involved addressing barriers to fish passage and redirecting and concentrating the cold-water seeps into the streams so they will remain a refuge for Atlantic salmon populations, as well as any other recreational species that may exist in the river system.
Working with partners such as local Indigenous lobster fishers, our planning is well underway to implement a multi-year project to install and monitor 40,000 artificial reefs units in Miramichi Bay (eastern shore of New Brunswick), an ecologically significant region that serves as feeding grounds for herring and mackerel and provides refuge for feeding and spawning of many species such as lobster. The reefs will have an important impact on the ecosystem because they provide shelter and diversity habitat for important species found on the ocean floor such as mussels, rock crab and algae.
Together, with like-minded local partners such as the Miramichi
Salmon Association and Atlantic Salmon Federation, Anqotum is providing
support to the Miramichi Conservation Partnership Program, led by
NSMDC, to undertake urgent recovery action towards a vision of a healthy
salmon population on the Miramichi. The fieldwork projects, that began in
mid - May of 2019, will continue in the years to come and include Cold
water refuge enhancement; Eliminating the threat of invasive species;
Reducing striped bass numbers to sustainable levels and Estimating
smolt numbers migrating to the ocean from the Northwest and Little
Southwest Miramichi rivers.
At the request of one of our member communities, we provided project management oversight to a major two-year restoration project comprised of many stakeholders addressing longstanding erosion issues affecting the Little Southwest Miramichi River’s natural ability to create and maintain quality and complex habitat for key species including Atlantic salmon, brook trout, American eel, gaspereau and sturgeon. We have completed the second of a four-year monitoring plan, where we collect important data such as Macro-invertebrate identification, to assess geomorphic or benthic population changes and overall post-construction effectiveness.
For several years, we have been delivering a classroom-based learning program to local First Nation schools and participating provincial schools called Promoting Lifelong Learning. We have developed curriculum and learning materials focused at youth to instill an awareness of species that are significant to Mi’kmaq, species at risk and critical species habitats in and around their communities towards developing future stewards. Some of the species included in our current program include American eel, Atlantic Sturgeon, Striped bass, Atlantic salmon, Wood turtle and Brook floater. During the summer, we also coordinate summer science camps in various member communities that are fun, hands-on and focus on specific species.
Anqotum Resource Management has been involved in striped bass research since 2008 when we assisted DFO in a study that was looking at the number of tagged striped bass returning to the Miramichi River to overwinter. Following this study, we helped utilize the Gasperau fisherman of Eel Ground First Nation to monitor the population of striped bass through out their recovery period. This was done by recording the number of individuals that were caught in the trap nets during the Gasperau season. During the life of this project, we observed a sharp increase in the number of spawning individuals, which met and exceeded the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) recovery target for spawning bass in the Miramichi.
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