What is the life cycle of the eulachon?
The eulachon is an anadromous species. This means that it lives part of its life in the ocean and part of its life in fresh water. Between February and May the adult eulachon leave the ocean and swim up streams and rivers to spawn. Usually the male fish start up the rivers first, followed by the females. Most spawning eulachon are three years old although they can live up to five years. Eulachon get together in large groups and spawn at night. The eggs and sperm are all released at the same time. The sticky fertilized eggs quickly attach to gravel, wood or the sandy bottom of rivers. Females can lay between 7,000 to 60,000 eggs. Most adults die soon after spawning. In about five to six weeks the eggs hatch and the small fish are carried down stream to the oceans. Eulachon mostly eat plankton. They are very high in oil content, and are important food for dogfish, sturgeon, halibut, whales, sea lions, and birds. In the ocean, it is also preyed on by salmon and other large fishes. Did you