2016 marks the 100th anniversary of the Migratory Birds Convention, the Canada-USA treaty that has been protecting wild migratory birds for a century. To celebrate, the Pacific Flyway Ambassadors were in Prince Rupert, BC and we joined them at Lucy Island, an oasis for the 25,000 pairs of Rhinoceros Auklets that breed there each year.
We are celebrating our own partnership with the Canadian Wildlife Service (Environment Canada & Climate Change). For the past five years, as part of our Catch Monitoring & Biological Sampling program, we’ve collected data on encounter rates with seabirds when Observers are on the water to begin to understand if, when, where, and how seabirds get caught in fishing gear. At Lucy Island, we shared this work and some of our other Ecotrust Canada projects, building a sense of place, ecosystems, and people that make this region special. Talking about fishing and what it brings to the communities on the coast; Observers; and the importance of monitoring and management led to great questions from the Ambassadors.
The Lucy Islands Conservancy is jointly managed by BC Parks and local First Nations, and besides the thousands of birds, the area is important because of the food resources, cultural values and archaeological sites, and beacon for navigation. The lighthouse has been standing for 110 years, and tulips were in bloom, the forgotten remnants of past light keeper’s garden. However, that is only a blip in the timeline compared to the history of local settlement. The Tsimshian can link the lineage of living members to the remains of a 5,500-year-old-female that were excavated from an ancient settlement site on Lucy Island.
Respecting the Tsimshian, collaboration and partnership for data collection, and promoting the importance and benefits of using local resources and capacity for monitoring will continue to guide our work in the Skeena. For the auklets, they will return soon to their earthly burrows – which are up to eight feet long and underground!
Devlin Fernandes is Senior Manager of Programs and heads our Skeena office.