Herring back in False Creek

Doug Swanston of the amazing Squamish Streamkeepers has let us know that herring are just beginning to spawn – unfortunately, right at the same time that derelict vessels might be still leaking oil in False Creek. Very bad timing, indeed.

The yellow boom above was floated over the wreck of the former Canadian patrol vessel Brama. In its better days , it was a strikingly handsome government vessel, but decommissioned in 1995. But over the last couple of years it had become a ticking threat to the environment.

The vessel had gone through several ownership changes. Nauticapedia indicates it was deregistered in government logs in 2022. Currently, the government does not officially know who the last owner…was.

Patrol Vessel Brama | Photo Credit: Rolf Leben

But back to the main concern: Pacific Herring are now spawning in False Creek, and Doug Swanston is concerned. He has found evidence of very early signs of spawning at Fisherman’s Wharf, and would like everybody to send in reports if they see the opalescent eggs attached to anything submerged in the creek. This is what you should be looking for:

This photo was taken by Dr. Doug Swanston of the Squamish Streamkeepers Society

The good news is that a range of city and federal officials have been monitoring the sunken vessel, and we’ve received the report below from Patrick Coates, Senior Project Manager, Engineering Services for the City of Vancouver:

“The Canadian Coast Guard and Transport Canada are leading removal of the Brama wreck and the City has been informed it has been pumped “clean” of all pollutants. We were also recently informed by Transport Canada they are seeking multiple bids for contractors to remove this wreck under the Federal Wrecked and Abandoned Vessel Act given it will require a larger salvage operation. We understand the booms around the wreck site were placed by the Coast Guard as a precautionary measure.

“If there is a significant amount of substance identified on the surface it can be referred to the spill response section of the Canadian Coast Guard for their immediate attention: https://www.ccg-gcc.gc.ca/contact/emergency-urgence/marine-pollution-marine-eng.html. “

In the meantime…

Please visit Squamish Streamkeepers! They (like False Creek Friends) depend on volunteers to keep an eye on “The Creek.” Scan their QR code, left, to find out more. And if you do find some of these precious eggs, let Doug know!