News

Salmon return at South Surrey hatchery scales record

This chum was among more than 5,500 returning salmon logged by Little Campbell Hatchery volunteers. - Contributed
This chum was among more than 5,500 returning salmon logged by Little Campbell Hatchery volunteers.
— image credit: Contributed

There's something fishy going on in the Little Campbell River – and those who watch over the salmon that spawn in it couldn't be happier.

"Very close to a record," Bob Donnelly, president of the Semiahmoo Fish & Game Club and Little Campbell Hatchery, said of this season's salmon return.

Volunteers have tracked the salmon runs at the 1284 184 St. hatchery since 1983, this year counting more than 5,500 returning to spawn.

The total included 4,702 coho, 574 chinook, 252 chum and 22 pink. It did not include those that spawned in the river downstream of the hatchery, or in tributaries such as Fergus Creek.

In 30 years of logging the salmon, only 2001's total exceeded the numbers seen this season.

"That year, there was 100 more salmon that come up than what we had this year," Donnelly said.

"Nothing else in any other of the years comes close. There was one weekend where we had almost 2,000 fish come up. They were just stacking up by the gate."

Donnelly couldn't explain the high return, but was pleased to see that 1,000 of the returning coho were confirmed as among 100,000 that were hatchery-raised and released two or three years ago.

"The fellows put a lot of effort into raising those hatchery fish," he said, citing efforts including collection of the eggs and sperm, and the clipping of back fins to ensure the fish are identifiable on return.

He acknowledged the death rate is high, but said to see 1,000 come back is "very good" nonetheless.

"There's significantly more fish raised in the river naturally, and they probably suffer the same death rate," he said.

With the salmon run finished, hatchery volunteers have switched their focus to steelhead trout, which spend two years at sea before returning to spawn. About 10,000 of the trout are raised in the hatchery every year. Four were spotted in early January.

Donnelly said anyone wanting to see the spawning in action is welcome to visit the grounds during daylight hours. The trout will continue to be visible from the club's river-side nature trail through March.

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.

You might like ...

Labour consumes most new tax dollars cities collect
 
Police blitz highlights jaywalking dangers
 
Election 2014: White Rock candidates – top issues and platforms
New Loblaws CityMarket caters to ‘food enthusiasts’
 
Loo 12th in Olympic snowboarding PGS
 
Suspicious fire destroys garage on Alexandra Road
UPDATE: Surrey baby treated for burns and released
 
Surrey businesses raise stakes on casino
 
COUNCIL ROUNDUP: More youth encouraged to voice opinions on downtown

Community Events, October 2014

Add an Event

Read the latest eEdition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Oct 30 edition online now. Browse the archives.