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British Columbia hatchery sees upgrades to improve and monitor salmon stock productivity


July 1, 2021
By Hatchery International Staff

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The Prince Rupert Port Authority (PRPA) has announced a $60,000 commitment through its Skeena River Salmon Enhancement Program to upgrade the Toboggan Creek Hatchery located in Northwest British Columbia (B.C.), in an effort to improve and monitor wild Coho and Chinook salmon stock productivity.

First built in 1985 as a five-year pilot project, the Toboggan Creek Hatchery has reached the end of its intended lifecycle, and upgrades to modernize and improve biosecurity will allow for the hatchery to provide fish with a safe and productive place to rear, as well as keep the stocks separated.

The project will nclude the removal of old wooden dividers that separate the stock and replacing them with more durable steel separators, as well as reshape the ponds and line them with aggregate. Additionally, these efforts will contribute to the Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s management of the Pacific Northwest salmon fisheries.

Through ongoing assessment activities, the Toboggan Creek Hatchery has provided uninterrupted Coho salmon exploitation, ocean distribution, and survival data for 35 years. The field data and samples gathered from the facility’s spring smolt trapping, mid-summer coded wire tagging and marking, and fall adult assessment fence operations directly inform Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s Pacific Northwest Coho salmon fishery and determine the annual allowable commercial retention of ocean-going Coho.

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“Our hatchery is the only Coho indicator stock in the Skeena watershed and we are grateful to receive support from the Prince Rupert Port Authority’s Skeena River Salmon Enhancement Program, as it reinforces our efforts and reaffirms our shared commitment to improving the health and vitality of wild salmon populations,” says Kris Bulloch, manager at Toboggan Creek Hatchery.

“For more than three and a half decades, the Toboggan Creek Hatchery has played a crucial role in salmon stock productivity in Northwest B.C., and the rearing pond upgrade project perfectly aligns with the Skeena River Salmon Enhancement Program’s mandate to support salmon productivity in the Skeena River watershed,” says Shaun Stevenson, president and CEO of the PRPA. “By committing to locally-driven projects further upstream, especially on the Bulkley River and other tributaries, we have a greater chance of restoring salmon populations throughout the region.”