When the survey began in 1994, the survey period was selected to designate a time period for when there would be an even split between newly laid lingcod egg masses and eggs close to hatching. If surveys are conducted too early, all of the egg masses will be newly laid and the count rate will be low. Similarly, if conducted too late, most of the egg masses will tend to be hatching, and the count rate will again be low. Neither end will provide the most accurate results, so therefore, we are extending the survey date to gather the most accurate information possible.
The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has posted the status of this winter here for January 2013 (December-February period) and we are now experiencing a relatively rare “normal” winter, following two La Nina winters. Conditions are still relatively cold, and the lingcod spawn seems later than it had been during the 1990s. Most egg masses sighted in Howe Sound through the end of February were newly laid, and there is little sign of hatching in most areas. Regional differences always occur, with lingcod spawning later further north.
Last year, the Lingcod Egg Mass Survey was extended to March 28, and this year, we are extending the end date from March 10 to April 7. This extension will allow two months of data to be examined, and hopefully most regions will have the peak spawn abundance occur within that period. The data analysis this year will focus on the time when a shift occurs from mostly new egg masses to mostly developed embryos in masses. We never know what climate trend may occur, and we really do not know for sure how the lingcod are tracking climate in their behaviors.
If you’re an interested diver, visit here to find more details about the survey. The video above shows how easy it is to spot nest-guarding lingcod. You still have time to help out with an important data-gathering initiative, and to have fun doing it. Join us!