Staff from the Gespe’gewagi Mi’gmaq Resource Council gathered around the aquarium watching thick, round fish with a short head and rounded snout swim through the eel grass. They travelled to Exploramer, an aquarium located in Sainte-Anne-Des-Monts, to gain more knowledge about lumpfish for their ongoing research. Lumpfish are “threatened” species according to COSEWIC. It’s a species that is often caught as bycatch in lobster traps. During spawning, the male changes colour and turns red. Next to the adult lumpfish, was a smaller aquarium housing baby lumpfish, smaller than a button. The team learned about how the young lumpfish will attach itself to floating seaweed and feed on plankton. They watched in awe as the juvenile lumpfish were given some plankton in the aquarium. GMRC staff and Exploramer are looking at ways to collaborate with one another on outreach projects in the future.
Thousands of kilometers across the north Atlantic, the Gespe’gewaq Mi’gmaq Resource Council Director of Research is working on what she refers to as an “opportunity of a lifetime.” Dr. Carole-Anne Gillis is tagging Atlantic salmon in Qaqortoq, Greendland. She started tagging on September 15th and continue until the 29th. “We have been leading tagging in the Restigouche and we were only getting a glimpse into understanding a small part of their journey. Now, we get to have more information on where the salmon go to feed before they come home,” explained Carole-Anne. “We can better understand threats in the ocean. To be part of this collaborative helps put AAROM groups at the forefront of salmon research initiatives.” The collaborative group is composed of researchers from other AAROM groups, DFO, ASF and NOAA. They are aiming to tag 106 Atlantic salmon with satellite tags. The tagging will provide researchers with answers to where the salmon are feeding, their behavior, and morphology.
Elder Kerry Prosper held an American eel as he walked along the inside of the circle showing this impressive species to the Gepmite’tminej Ta’n Telolti’gw workshop participants. Kerry, a respected elder from Paqtnkek First Nation is one of the guest speakers invited to the workshop. He demonstrated how to make eel spears using spruce poles. After his presentation, the Gespe’gewaq Mi’gmaq Resource Council (GMRC) shared research they had conducted on American eel using both traditional and western knowledge. GMRC staff showcased our DJI Matrice 210 drone equipped with a thermal imaging camera. Craig Isaac flew the drone over Gospem and explained the importance of using this equipment during our research. GMRC would like to thank the Listuguj Treaty Education Professional Development department for inviting us to be part of this culturally relevant workshop.
A group of students from the Supernova camp in Listuguj gathered along the shore near Moffat’s Landing. They focused their attention on staff from the Gespe’gewaq Mi’gmaq Resource Council (GMRC) who were introducing a sampling method called seining. A beach seine was used to catch small fish near the shore. As the group sorted through the net, they found species such as sand shrimp, and a school of baby gaspereau. The GMRC research team helped the Supernova students identify the species and talked about the importance of good fish handling. We would like to thank the Supernova camp for inviting us to be part of their learning experience.