Local fish hatchery threatened by cuts

  • Sep. 16, 2009 2:00 p.m.

The future of Pallant Creek fish hatchery hangs in tatters after federal funds were filleted. Fisheries and Oceans Canada cut operational funds for the coho and chum salmon hatchery on Moresby Island to $250,000 for 2009-10, from $350,000, says Russ Jones of Haida Fisheries. The chop means that hatchery staff will not be able to collect many eggs this year, which means very few fry or smolts will be raised and then even fewer salmon will return to Pallant Creek. With no fish returning, the hatchery has no future he said and Fisheries and Oceans Canada will likely not provide any funds the next year. This year’s funding will allow for collection of 300,000 coho eggs along with the follow-through on their growth until they are released next year. Mr. Russ said coho fry usually have a 3 percent survival rate. The hatchery usually targets 1.4 million coho fry and 25 million chum eggs. This year, there will be no chum. “But what is really uncertain is what is going to happen after [this year],” said Mr. Jones. Pallant Creek is the only major salmon enhancement hatchery on Haida Gwaii, he said. The hatchery has been operating since 1979 and managed by Haida Fisheries since 1998. According to Mr. Jones, a joint Haida-DFO review of the hatchery had been underway since February, with possible cuts to production discussed along with future options for the hatchery, but no final plans were made. Then Haida Fisheries received a call in late August stating that funding would be reduced from what they had expected for 2009/10. Mr. Jones has sent letters to the village of Queen Charlotte, the regional district, fishermen’s unions and more looking for support and help in restoring the funding. He said the hatchery provides the communities of Haida Gwaii with commercial and recreational fishing opportunities and work for four full-time staff and 10 seasonal part-time employees during egg takes and again when fry need to be moved. The chum salmon from the hatchery also provide a terminal fishery for several commercial fishermen on the North Coast. Mr. Jones said the only reason they’ve heard from DFO for the cut is that the hatchery doesn’t meet their current objectives. “We mainly do fish production and that is not a priority for them anymore,” says Mr. Jones, although he noted that several other hatcheries including ones on the Skeena River, in Kitimat and on the central coast are continuing. The Observer tried to reach Fisheries and Oceans Habitat and Enhancement Branch for comment, but did not receive a response by our deadline.

Just Posted

New exhibit at Haida Gwaii Heritage Centre, Kay Llnagaay

Ubiquitous Cocoons: My metamorphosing life by Kathy Pick will be running until Sept. 1, 2019

Steve Nash Youth Basketball wraps up in Massett

RCMP coordinated the 12-week program for children between the ages of eight and 10

Smithers man receives two-year sentence for fatal car crash

Over a year after a fatal crash, a Smithers man has been sentenced to two years plus a day in jail.

Backyard burning still prohibited on Haida Gwaii, fire chief warns

Village of Queen Charlotte fire chief Larry Duke is reminding the public… Continue reading

COLUMN: The removal of the Pigeon Guillemot ‘colony’

Birds lost their place after the removal of the old wharf at Shingle Bay in Sandspit

10 facts about Father’s Day

Did you know that the special day for dads was first celebrated in 1910?

Bombers down B.C. Lions 33-23 in season opener

Former Lion Andrew Harris leads Winnipeg with 148 rushing yards

Northern B.C. family remembers murdered Indigenous woman with memorial walk

Still no closure for Ramona Wilson’s family 25 years later

B.C. university to offer mentorship program for former youth in care

Students using the provincial tuition waiver program will soon be able to form a community at KPU

Cyclists competing in one of the toughest bike races on the planet pass through Fernie

Divide riders looking strong as they finish first leg of 4160 km race

You might not know these B.C. records are public

Hired a lawyer to file a civil claim? Those are published online

B.C. bus driver loses case to get job back after texting while driving full bus

An arbitator ruled that Tim Wesman’s phone usage was a “a reckless disregard for public safety”

B.C. Interior First Nation family ‘heartbroken’ over loss of young mom

RCMP have released no new information since the June 8, 2019 homicide

Revamped B.C. Lions set to battle veteran Winnipeg Blue Bombers

The Lions’ first test of the season will be a big one

Most Read