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.

 

Surrey North Delta Leader

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Telethon promotes Surrey Memorial Hospital COVID response funding

Entrepreneur Manjit Lit gifts Surrey Hospital Foundation, challenges others to join him

Stanley Cup win for Surrey-based NHL scout who coached in North Delta

Grant Armstrong is among 11 WHL alumni currently with Tampa Bay Lightning

Another death as COVID-19 outbreak at Delta Hospital climbs to 18 cases

Total of 12 patients and six staff in one unit have tested positive for COVID-19: Fraser Health

Surrey’s Johnston Heights reporting COVID-19 exposure

Fraser Health has created a new webpage listing COVID-19 cases in schools

CRIME STOPPERS: ‘Most wanted’ for the week of Sept. 27

Crime Stoppers’ weekly list based on information provided by police investigators

105 new COVID-19 cases, 1 death as health officials urge B.C. to remember safety protocols

There are currently 1268 active cases, with 3,337 people under public health monitoring

U.S. Presidential Debate Takeaways: An acrid tone from the opening minute

Here are key takeaways from the first of three scheduled presidential debates before Election Day on Nov. 3

B.C. nurses report rise in depression, anxiety, exhaustion due to pandemic

A new UBC study looks into how the COVID-19 response has impacted frontline nurses

National child-care plan could help Canada rebound from COVID-induced economic crisis: prof

A $2 billion investment this year could help parents during second wave of pandemic

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Search suspended for Indigenous elder last seen mushroom picking in northwest B.C.

Mushroom picker Thomas (Tommy) Dennis has been missing since Sept. 16

16 MLAs retiring from B.C. politics add up to $20M in pensions: Taxpayers Federation

Taxpayers pay $4 for every dollar MLAs contribute to their pensions

‘Bonnie’ and ‘Henry’ among latest litter of service dog puppies

B.C. Alberta Guide Dogs names two pups after provincial health officer

B.C. VOTES 2020: Few solutions offered for ‘out of control’ camping

B.C. Liberals, NDP spend millions as problem keeps growing

Most Read