Salmon becomes B.C. emblem
“It is a reminder to us all of the tremendous values associated with Pacific salmon in B.C. and that we all have responsibility for conserving and restoring this incredibly important natural resource. As the head of a foundation that is singularly focused on Pacific salmon restoration, I commend the provincial government, especially environment minister Terry Lake, for its leadership and for the $22 million that the provincial government has invested in Pacific salmon conservation since 2006,” Riddell said.
Tim Pardee, BIFWC’s president said, “The designation of Pacific salmon as an official symbol of British Columbia recognizes how people connect salmon to the West Coast in a similar way that Douglas fir, bald eagles, and orcas are part of this beautiful place. Volunteers involved in operating salmon hatcheries, assisting in stream rehabilitation work, and monitoring the health of streams throughout B.C. and the Yukon will be visiting Bowen Island for SEP Community Workshops 2013, May 17 to 19. Speaking on behalf of the Bowen Island Fish and Wildlife Club, we agree wholeheartedly with the sentiments expressed by Brian Riddell of the Pacific Salmon Foundation.”
The Pacific Salmon Foundation granted $10,000 to BIFWC to host the May program where SEP community volunteers get together to celebrate and rejuvenate, as well as acquire skills and knowledge to assist with work in their home watersheds. Sessions are planned to explore best practices for community hatcheries, streamkeeper monitoring protocols, tools of the trade, policy in practice, fundraising, communications and education that works.
For Bowen Island, it also presents a chance to showcase the effort of local volunteers who are looking after the hatchery in Crippen Park and island-wide streams. Pardee explained that in December, BIFWC received 210,000 chum eggs from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO). On January 31, an additional 33,000 coho eggs were placed in hatchery incubation trays. The chum eggs have begun to develop into the alevin stage and will be released into Bowen waterways and the lagoon sometime in spring. Chum fry swim quickly into the ocean. Coho fry will be released into several creeks on Bowen Island in April, where they will eat and mature for about one year until they migrate to the ocean.
“Hopefully, many chum and coho adults will return to spawn on Bowen Island in approximately four years,” Pardee said. For more information about salmon and salmon enhancement on Bowen Island, please see the BIFWC website: www.bowenhatchery.org.