Forage fish spawning beach surveys

Photo showing dozens of forage fish eggs on a researcher's fingertip
Forage fish egg are so small, most people would not notice them on the beach

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is surveying public and private beaches around Puget Sound to document the spawning areas of forage fish.

The surveys are designed to determine where and when forage fish, such as surf smelt and Pacific sand lance, spawn in Puget Sound. Both species generally spawn near the water’s edge during high tides where their eggs adhere to the substrate and incubate on the beach.

During the surveys, crews working with WDFW will collect sediment samples to test for fish spawn, photograph beach conditions and take measurements at randomly selected beaches throughout Puget Sound. Beach surveys generally take less than one hour per location.

Landowners who want to deny access to their beach properties can opt out of the surveys by filling out this online form. Anyone who chooses to opt out will need to provide his or her name, property address and parcel number.