Everybody Loves Capelin

  • Downhome Magazine
  • Posted: Nov 30, -0001 12:00 AM
July 13, 2011

We are in the middle of capelin season now and it's easy to see their importance to just about every seabird and marine mammal on the Newfoundland coast. The great whales are here because of them, most of our seabirds depend on their abundance to feed their squalking chicks. The otters, seals, fish, and of course us humans all turn the event into a festival. We have dozens of whales feeding on large schools of capelin these days. Its great whale watching and it's also fun to watch the puffins zooming home with a beakful of capelin to feed their squalking chicks fresh out of the egg. The black-legged kittiwake eggs have hatched too and we saw this kittiwake snatch a capelin right beside a feeding humpback today. The capelin have come inshore looking for optimal water temperatures to spawn. A keystone species to our wildlife, it is a worry that their spawning activities are closely linked to seasonal warming, which seems to linked to oceanic climate change.

About the Skipper...
Satisfying her keen interest in natural history, Fraser Carpenter has spent most of her adult life outdoors or on the water. She has run tour boats and sailing charter boats - and even built a sailing boat and spent 13 years sailing around the world, hiking, climbing and photographing nature. Fraser has spent four summers sailing and hiking in the arctic and two years in sub antarctica working as a field scientist. In the summer time she skippers a passenger boat for O'Brien's Whale and Bird Tours in Bay Bulls, Newfoundland.