Little Campbell Hatchery volunteer Sue MacRae gets some help from Julia Mackie

Salmon season keeps South Surrey volunteers busy

Hundreds of spawning coho counted at the Little Campbell Hatchery.

Every day for the past two weeks – and for at least a few more to come – volunteers at the Little Campbell Hatchery have been getting a workout, scooping and counting salmon that are making their instinct-driven sojourn up the river.

The bicep-building effort has been an annual tradition since 1982, and at the height of the run “there’ll be hundreds a day” through the 1284 184 St. hatchery’s fish trap, said Bob Donnelly, president of the hatchery and Semiahmoo Fish & Game Club.

Two years ago, one day we had 1,500. When they’re running fast, we have to be here all day long.”

Friday morning, more than 100 salmon were logged, the majority of them coho.

Scooped by net from the steel trap, each fish is identified by species, then checked for clipped fins – to determine if they’re wild or hatchery-raised – before being released to continue up the river.

It’s an effort that’s repeated every day from about 9 a.m. until 8 p.m. throughout the run.

Donnelly said the resulting statistics have become an important source of information for the fishery, helping track the populations and determine survival rates, including of hatchery fish themselves.

With concerns about the future of salmon in the river running particularly high – as the City of Surrey considers a proposal for a truck park eyed for a site less than three kilometres away – Donnelly is hopeful public awareness of the ongoing efforts will keep the river’s health at the forefront of the discussion. It has been a priority for volunteers for 59 years.

Typically, the hatchery raises about 100,000 coho every year, along with thousands more cutthroat, steelhead and chinook.

Returns of the latter were “way down” this year, Donnelly noted. Just 184 chinook were counted last month, compared to 324 last year, and it’s believed the preceding dry spell is to blame.

“This year, the river was so low, they were struggling,” Donnelly said. “We’ve never seen the river that low.”

Donnelly emphasized that efforts at the hatchery are not intended to replace the wild salmon population, but augment it.

Wednesday, volunteers will collect fertilized coho eggs for distribution to schools as part of the Salmon in the Classroom program. Students will raise the fish and bring the fry for release into the river next spring.

Members of the public interested in seeing the spawning salmon firsthand are welcome to drop by the 30-acre property during daylight hours.

 

Just Posted

PHOTOS: White Rock Renegades play at Softball City

The ‘04 and ‘03 White Rock Renegades both played in South Surrey Sunday

White Rock’s Lady Alexandra hearing date postponed

Lawyers are scheduled to sit before a judge this week

White Rock pride flag raising ceremony to be held Friday

Pride Society to host sold-out event the following day

Semiahmoo Rock alum to represent Canada at World Junior Lacrosse Championship

Jacob Dunbar plays for Port Coquitlam Saints of BCJALL

Two from Delta killed in two-vehicle crash near Golden

RCMP are investigating the cause of the crash

Rich the Vegan scoots across Canada for the animals

Rich Adams is riding his push scooter across Canada to bring awareness to the dog meat trade in Asia

Vancouver Island teens missing after vehicle found ablaze near Dease Lake, BC

RCMP say a body discovered nearby not one of the missing teens

A year later, ceremony commemorates victims of the Danforth shooting

It’s the one-year anniversary of when a man opened fire along the bustling street before shooting and killing himself

Japanese Canadians call on B.C. to go beyond mere apology for historic racism

The federal government apologized in 1988 for its racism against ‘enemy aliens’

B.C. VIEWS: NDP pushes ahead with Crown forest redistribution

This isn’t the time for a radical Indigenous rights agenda

Ottawa fights planned class action against RCMP for bullying, intimidation

The current case is more general, applying to employees, including men, who worked for the RCMP

Alberta judge denies B.C.’s bid to block ‘Turn Off the Taps’ bill

He said the proper venue for the disagreement is Federal Court

Most Read

l -->