Seine gives students an up-close look at beach

With the skyscrapers of downtown Seattle in the distance and the tide slowly lapping back in, several elementary school students with small, hand-held fishnets scoured the tide pools of the Manchester waterfront looking for crabs, worms and shells at the end of a long morning of seining.

Almost 100 students from Manchester Elementary, John Sedgwick Junior High and Olympic College gathered on Friday at Manchester resident David Kimble’s beachfront property, along with educators and guides, for a marine nature study along the Manchester Shoreline.

The Committee to Restore Duncan Creek sponsored this catch-and-release environmental experience, Manchester’s Fifth Beach Seine.

A seine is a large fishing net made to hang vertically in the water by weights at the lower edge and floats at the top. The “curtain” effect created by the vertical net traps wildlife close to the shoreline so they can be seen and studied before being released.

Small boats and waders in hip boots place a large net in a half-circle configuration just beyond the tide line. The net is then hauled in using ropes — and a lot of manpower. Nearly everything in the water between the net and shore gets scooped up in the process, allowing participants the chance to see a good cross-section of the off-shore community.

The purpose of the seining was to better assess the variety of organisms which live and feed just beyond Manchester’s tide line.

Chum Salmon, flounder, Dungeness crabs and starfish were just some of the species brought to the surface with the seine.

“I caught a fish,” exclaimed Manchester Elementary sixth-grader Gavin Bashore, 11, but he was sure to point out that the fish was later released.

Environmental science majors at Olympic College, as well as local scientists like Suquamish tribal biologist Paul Dorn, the Washington Sea Grant Program’s Jim Brennan and Washington State Fish and Wildlife habitat biologist Bob Burkle, were on hand in waders and boots, answering questions, giving presentations and taking samples they will later use in their labs.

“They came to help teach the kids what they were learning,” Kimble said. “It was a pleasure. I think (the students) really understood more of the whole picture.”

The event was cosponsored by the Governor’s Office of Indian Affairs, the Puget Sound Water Quality Action Team, the Suquamish Tribal Marine Resource Program, the Suquamish Tribal Photo Archives, the Kitsap Alliance of Property Owners, the John Sedgwick Junior High School Science Club, the King County Department of Natural Resources, the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife, Manchester Elementary School, Olympic Junior College, Tagert’s Dive and Surf Shop, the Manchester Water District, Northwest Creative Media and Still Hope Productions.

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