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Fish & Marine Mammal 2016
Paulatuk HTC Final Report
Partners and funding
The PHTC was in partnership with lead Science team; Lisa Loseto, Sonja Ostertag, Colin Gallagher, Jim Reist and Darcy McNicholl of Department of Fisheries & Oceans Canada, Danny Swainson and Kristin Hynes of Fisheries & Joint Management Committee, Colleen Parker of WWF and Steve Insley of WCS
The funding for the Beluga Program came from DFO, includes the Beluga Observations and Research Assistant Program.
The Char Monitoring Program was approved by DFO
World Wildlife Fund – Whitefish Monitoring, this also includes the dollars for analyzing and Danny Swainson’s round trip to train the Monitors.
Wildlife Conservation Society funded the Seal Diet Project
Imperial Oil Summer Student program for
All above projects included administration fees of 20%
Beluga Monitoring Program 2016
On June 1st the PHTC hired Jody Illasiak and Brandon Green as the Beluga Monitors for the duration of 22 days each (shift change). The orientation was held on June 22nd with the monitors, FJMC, and the PHTC RP. This year, the program was designed to spread out the sampling/monitoring days. The first Monitor, Jody began on the 30th of June until the 21st of July and the second monitor, Brandon started his monitoring program stationed at Tippi until the 25th of August. The Junior Monitor, Pat Illasiak was divided to assist the two monitors, 10 days with Jody and 10 days with Brandon. During the first monitoring program, Once the first Monitor completed his days, he was switched to Standby Monitor and the same went for Brandon. In this way the program was spread out to Monitor at least 40 days, which worked out very well again this year.
In Summary, 5 whales were harvested and sampled, it was a slow season for whales. There was a large group of whales that passed from East straight onto Johnny Green’s area (Cut straight across without entering the Darnley Bay). There were ice packs reported to the East and moved to our area after the big storm, they were drifted into the West end (Argo bay down to Bennett point area, which may be the cause of the whales coming in late and passing by. The Monitor, Brandon Green and one other boat were traveling back from Brown’s when they ran into them. They had a load already, so only 2 more were harvested from that group. There were Polar Bears spotted with the ice packs feeding on 2 dead whales (female with a young). All 5 samples were inspected and confirmed before shipping.
Weather wasn’t cooperating during the Belugas passing by Browns, they did have the 2 big boats but still was too rough to attempt the hunt.
There were 38 observations made this year with $25 gift cards in exchange for the information from observers. Each Monitor was given a binder with the forms. This year there was an ipad to record or enter them on digital form, Dennis Ruben was hired as the Beluga Research Assistant, he uploaded all observations onto the iPad provided. The iPad and all documents were sent to Ellen at DFO for redistribution as well.
DB FISH SURVEY 2016
This year again, Steve Illasiak was hired as the Field Technician for the DB Fish Survey with Darcy McNicoll, and Andrew Majewksi arrived on the 26th of July and began prepping for the field trip to Argo Bay, where they spent 2 weeks sampling, in summary, the objective of the program this year were;
1) Develop baseline fish community and habitat information for coastal areas in Darnley Bay.
2) Document and sample kelp, invertebrate and fish diversity in multiple habitats to underpin ANAOI and related processes.
3) Investigate ecological relationships of mid-trophic level forage fishes (Capelin) and their role in supporting subsistence populations of predators (marine mammals, chars).
4) Synthesize information gathered among field programs and identify variability in coastal fish diversity and habitat types among three regions (Brown’s Harbour, Bennett Point, Argo Bay). They’ve sampled sufficient information from the North, this year, they focused their sampling only in Argo bay area.
Darcy and her team also made a field trip to the blue char monitoring site at Tippi on the 26, just to check how the sampling program was going, which is led by Colin Gallagher of and returned to Paulatuk on the 11th of August for the charter out on the 13th. Darcy submitted her written report to the PHTC, which was reviewed at the September 7th regular meeting.
A. Majewski and D. McNicholl using a beach seine to collect larval fish
Field (local) Technician, Steve Illasiak processing an Arctic char
Juvenile Broad Whitefish (pending lab id).
Char Monitor Program 2016
The PHTC hired Ian Green for the Hornaday River, Shayne Nakimayak to monitor Lessard Creek/Brock River char count and remained with Tony Green for the Tippi Blue Char project. As per contract, they aimed to sample 200 dead samples, weigh, measure and took otiliths from the char, but with the low catch of char this year, the program came to a total of 631 includes some blue char from all sampling sites. Ian moved his nets around at the Mouth of the Hornaday, but couldn’t find where they were traveling up by. Some harvesters further up the hornaday caught more than what Ian was catching, so we figure that the char were going up by Nuvaqpaluk (North West of the sampling area/Hornaday River). He did try and catch more for weight and measure in that area to fill his contract responsibilities, but it was too slow. Tony also tried continuing to sample after his contract ended at Tippi , it was also slow there and weather, again, played a big role in slowing the program. Lessard was also slow, which is unusual.
We have also collected 25 fish heads to determine the specie (Char or Landlock/salmon from inland lakes this Spring funded by Colin Gallagher
All samples, data/binders and pictures were sent to DFO Inuvik for redistribution to FWI Winnipeg for further analysis.
Flesh wound – char caught in hornaday (upper)
Char and Trout caught at the Hornaday – Diane/Larry – early Fall 2016
2’ length or more from inland lake – spawning char/Landloch or Salmon – heads sent to determine
Char caught at Hornaday – early August – damaged jaw and health was slim
Substance (mineral/sulpher, but no scent) seeping into the Hornaday
Char (spawner) caught in Hornaday (upper) late fall, Sept.
Salmon Project – Karen Dunmall - DFO
So far this year, we’ve collected 22 Salmon in exchange for northern gift cards funded by Karen Dunmall of DFO. The majority were caught in the Hornaday system and 2 were ready to spend their eggs. These are all whole samples that the members handed in and as of today (Sept 12), they’re still coming in, majority has been caught in the Hornaday. They will be sent to DFO Inuvik, which will then be sent to Karen.
Spotted Salmon from Hornaday River – upper area
Char and Salmon from Hornaday
Freezer full of Salmon
Salmon from Hornaday - Spawners
Data Harvest Collection 2016
The PHTC continued with Melanie Wolki as the Data Harvest collector for 2015. She has been doing house visits on a monthly basis to collect harvester information. She has been added with 2 additional visits during August and November (ie. August 1 – 15 and August 16 – 31) under the DFO contract. She has also worked with the Monitors and the RP so that the numbers are not duplicated from the harvester information. The DFO Contract for fish and marine mammal ends in December 2015. Our harvesters have been very helpful in reporting their information, at the end of each Month, we do a gas draw of 10 gals each (2 draws of 5 gals).
Melanie Wolki is now on maternity leave, PHTC welcomes Kourtney Ruben who will be collecting data until she returns.
Kourtney Ruben, Interim Data Harvest Collector – DFO/PHTC
Whitefish Monitoring Program – WWF 2016
This year we had the opportunity to do a whitefish monitoring program with the funds provided by WWF-Canada for the purpose of better understanding the biology of whitefish harvested, with the focus on trophic ecology (diet) and health (Contaminants), it is an important subsistence but lack baseline information about this species, especially with the designation of the DB Marine Protected area.
There were 4 Monitors; Lawrence Ruben and Noel Green began their program at Billy’s Creek on the 2nd of July for one week to sample 75 whitefish (muscle, otilith, weigh and measure). Peter Ruben and Dwayne Illasiak were placed at the Hornaday River (upper area) to collect the same amount, which began on the 12th of August for the same duration, they were also able to sample a total of 75 whitefish. There were 2 wildlife monitors to accompany each site; Jonah Nakimayak and Annie Wolki.
This was another project that was a success in hitting the targeted samples. These samples have been sent to FWI, Winnipeg, but the muscles will be shipped to a separate lab to anaylyze the muscle for contaminants. Colin Gallagher will be reporting on the end results when they become available.
We also hired Marion Ruben to conduct the TK interviews, she has completed it with the Board being satisfactory with the interview results. All recordings and devices were sent in September. The final step will be to get the interviews verified before publication and will be stored or property of PHTC.
Hornaday River – Annie Wolki, Wildlife Monitor, Whitefish Monitors; Peter Ruben and Dwayne Illasiak (Lawrence and Dwayne in boat)
Billy’s Creek – Lawrence Ruben and
Noel Green 75 Mark!
Trout/Char caught at Billy’s Creek – July 3rd
Seal Diet Program 2016
The Seal project began in August and work on sampling the harvesters catch, we offered $90 per seal to the harvesters. Joe Illasiak and Ryan Green were hired as the Monitors to carry this out with funding from Steve Insley, of Wildlife Conservation Society for $20,000, plus the carry-over of $2,329.09 from 2015/16. We are looking at sampling from different areas and times from around Paulatuk from both ringed and bearded seals. Joe took pictures as well and basic biological (diet) information from the harvesters seals with the assistance of Ryan. The samples will be further analyzed at Winnipeg. We’d like to thank the harvesters and the community for their cooperation in allowing us to sample their harvests throughout this project!
Monitor Ryan Green
You can see the change in the health just by looking at the thickness of the blubber through time (June – October) Sample #2 is from June; Monitors, Joe and Ryan and the harvester’s first bearded seal in July; Sample 8 is August and the monitor is taking sample from one of the last ones in October
Summer Students involved with Fish and Marine Mammal programs– funded by Imperial Oil 2016
This year, we hired on Pat Illasiak as the field beluga trainee, Lauren Ruben and Toutuk Lester as the office trainees. My office trainees were such a blessing to train during a busy season with our programs/projects. They’ve had hands on from verifying the samples preparing them to ship, and other tasks relating to the programs. Lauren and Toutuk shared the 6.5 weeks (3 weeks each on the job) Since Lauren was a returning student, I provided her with more advanced tasks, whereas, Toutuk was introduced to the basic office procedures along with assisting me with the samples coming in. All three have submitted written reports for the funders, besides my final report.
WE would like to thank Imperial Oil for funding this successful program, it has, once again, given the youth the opportunity to gain the work experience and heightened their moral.
1st pic: Toutuk Lester, Diane (me) 2nd pic: SS Lauren Ruben and Diane, on one
End of her program! of our visits to Hornaday River during her
Field Student/Trainee: Pat Illasiak (Beluga team)
Final comments, concerns and recommendations/requests…questions!
We found that the more Salmon we’re catching, the less char we get. Is it possible for Salmon to take over the Char habitat?
Does Char prefer cooler water temperatures? This year, the water temperature was too warm, especially in the hornaday river. As per Karen Dunmall, Salmon prefers warmer waters and that they eat the same food as the char
Were there ice in the East, blocking their travel this way (arrival of beluga)?
We would like to do a Beluga and whitefish tagging program for 2017/18, will FJMC provide funding or assist us in the search for funding and support these new project?
We would like to thank the funders, partners, co-management boards for their support and especially to the community of Paulatuk for their cooperation and support of our programs!
efish. There were 2 wildlife monitors to accompany each site; Jonah Nakimayak and Annie Wolki.
Does Char prefer cooler water temperatures? This year, the water temperature was too warm, especially in the hornaday river. As per Karen Dunmall, Salmon prefers warmer waters and that they eat the