The American eel was the other focus of our research. This year AAROM looked up and down the Miramichi river for a parasite which has been proven to already have invaded the Saint John river system. However after catching 40 American eels, Dr. Michael Burt, taxonomist for UNB determined there was no parasite present in any of the samples.
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.
For decades, the community of Metepenagiag has been concerned about, and has taken steps to address the bank erosion and sedimentation occurring in a vital area of the community and its adverse affects on the habitats of aquatic and terrestrial species.
This past summer, Metepenagiag Mi’kmaq Nation approached NSMDC AAROM to assist with their conservation efforts and undertake a restoration project.
The project will serve to prevent further massive loss of bank materials and sediments and in-fill of the Whirl Pool and the channels leading out of the Little Southwest Miramichi River into the estuary. River widening and channelization are processes that may affect fish passage at certain times of the migration season, as well as lead to further warming of the water before it enters the estuary.
Given the continued failure to meet minimum spawning escapement targets forwild Atlantic salmon on the Northwest Miramichi River system, effort must be made where possible to protect channel integrity, fish passage and water temperatures for the good of wild Atlantic salmon.
With funding in part from the Aboriginal Fund for Species at Risk and many generous sponsors/partners, we deliver a classroom – based learning program to local First Nation schools as part of our Promoting Lifelong Learning initiative (PLL).
The students from Elsipogtog, Esgenoopetitj, Metepenagiag and Natoaganeg First Nations, participate in workshops about Species at Risk and the importance of stewardship. The workshop presentations and activities focus on four species of significance to the Mi’kmaw – American Eel, Atlantic Salmon and Atlantic Sturgeon and Striped Bass.
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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