Lake Biodiversity Study

Environmental Science 11 continued Shawnigan’s long-running efforts to help monitor fish in Shawnigan Lake by conducting an annual study of fish stocks and biodiversity.
Students put nets in the water for 24 hours in two separate locations and pulled them up the following morning, then removed the fish from the nets. The next day, Grade 11 classes weighed, measured and dissected the specimens, noting the detailed information, including species and sex.
The annual study helps figure out what species of fish are present in Shawnigan Lake. There are endemic populations of rainbow and cutthroat trout, but those species are also stocked for pleasure fishing. The endemic populations consist of male and female fish, while the stocked fish are typically a third sex called “triploid,” bred in a hatchery without sex organs so that they won’t breed with the native populations.
Also present are coho salmon, which were introduced in the 1970s, although they have usually left the lake for the ocean by this time of year, and kokanee salmon, a form of sockeye salmon that lives its entire life in freshwater, although it is unknown if Shawnigan Lake’s kokanee were trapped in the lake naturally or introduced. Bass were definitely introduced to the lake, probably by sport fishers, as were perch, possibly as live bait for bass fishing.
Shawnigan has been doing this fish study since 1997. The data is reported to the provincial government and other regional organizations.
We acknowledge with respect the Coast Salish Peoples on whose traditional lands and waterways we live, learn and play. We are grateful for the opportunity to share in this beautiful region, and we aspire to healthy and respectful relationships with those who have lived on and cared for these lands for millennia.