On Tuesday May 28th, the MSI hosted ‘Herring Happenings of 2024’ at the Brackendale Ary Gallery in Squamish.

This event brought together our staff, contractors, volunteers, partners, funders, and interested community members for an evening of learning and sharing stories about herring. The event featured:

    • Stories and research about herring in Átl’ka7tsem / Howe Sound
    • Results from our 2024 Search for Slhawt’ / Herring Program
    • Two short films about herring

We were pleased to have close to 100 people attend this event. Not only did our volunteers and key partners show up, but also many interested community members. We consider this event to have been a huge success!

Several speakers shared their stories and knowledge about slhawt’ / herring during the event:

  • Charlene Williams, Squamish Nation member – provided an introduction, shared about her experience with slhawt’ / herring and traditional harvest of ch’em’esh / herring roe, and led a welcome song.
  • Matthew Van Oostdam, MSI Search for Slhawt’ Program Coordinator – shared results from the 2024 Search for Slhawt’ Program and introduced two short films.
  • Matty Moore, Squamish Nation ACE Technician – spoke about his experience as a snorkel surveyor and sharing knowledge with new ACE Technicians.
  • Virginie Chalifoux, PhD Student at UBC Aquaculture & Climate Change Lab – presented about her research on climate change impacts to herring egg / larvae development and experience joining the survey team out on the boat to gather samples.

We thanked our speakers with gifts of herring carvings by Squamish carver Neil Baker and herring printed bags by local artist Sarah Keller.

Other attendees were invited to share their stories about herring via an online form. One example of a response submitted from a volunteer about their favourite memory from this year’s program:

“Rescuing John Buchannan from the end of the Spit. He was pacing and staring out at Spit Island because he suspected there was spawn there from some drone footage. We offered him a lift in the canoe and his eyes lit up! He jumped in the boat (almost capsizing us!) And then talked non-stop about his experiences. What a legend!”

We also shared two brand new films about herring:

  • Searching for Slhawt’ – this 5 minute short film was created by videographer Kieran Brownie, with support from the Pacific Salmon Foundation (PSF) and British Columbia Salmon Restoration and Innovation Fund (BCSRIF). It shared about the development of our program and the reconnection of Skwxwú7mesh Úxwumixw / Squamish Nation to their traditional practices of harvesting ch’em’esh / herring roe in Átl’ka7tsem / Howe Sound. We will release the film on our website in the coming weeks.
  • Silver Highways – this 12 minute film was created by Rebecca Benjamin-Carey and Grant Scott with support from the Herring Conservation and Restoration Society (HCRS) and Conservancy Hornby Island. The film showcases the important ecological and cultural role that Pacific herring play throughout the Salish Sea as they travel on the “Silver Highway”. Check out the new HCRS at www.savetheherring.org

There was a table set up for sales of the brand new children’s book: Tem Lhawt’ / Time of the Herring.

Written by Welwaltenaat Myia Antone and Matthew Van Oostdam, and illustrated by Latashkinem. There are two stories about Harriet the Herring within this book; one in English and one in the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh sníchim / Squamish language.

Limited edition stickers featuring the book’s artwork were also available by donation.

We raised over $133 with donations from stickers!

Thank you very much to everyone who made this event possible, and all who attended. We are overjoyed to see how many community members care for these little fish.

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