Gone With the Fish!

On Tuesday, April 29, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) utilized the Discovery LNG site as the release point for 250,000 Chinook salmon smolts (juvenile salmon).  A portion of this release group were coded wire tagged at Quinsam River hatchery (25,000), which will provide DFO staff with information on migration, ocean survival, and catch. Fisheries and Oceans Canada estimates that up to 2,500 of this release group could survive to adults and return to the Campbell and Quinsam rivers to spawn. The average cycle for Chinook salmon is 4 and 5 years, and this release is only part of an overall Quinsam River Hatchery release of 2,900,000 smolts this spring.


This is just one enhancement technique used by Quinsam Hatchery to improve adult returns to the local watershed where they were born. This particular release group is part of an ocean release strategy which is done to reduce the number of migrating fish passing through the Campbell River estuary (to reduce competition with naturally occurring Chinook fry), and to give them a head start on their ocean migration.  They have been accelerated in their growth rate at the hatchery and have become ready for ocean entry a month earlier than their wild counterparts. Similar strategies have improved overall survival and homed adults back to the release area to promote recreational fisheries.