Alarm system a lifesaver at BC hatchery

Emergency response could prevent death of thousands of fish in the event of a power failure
Liza Mayer
January 09, 2018
By Liza Mayer
The Kokish River Hatchery has released over five million salmon into the Kokish River on North Vancouver Island over the last 25 years
The Kokish River Hatchery has released over five million salmon into the Kokish River on North Vancouver Island over the last 25 years
Kokish River Hatchery near Port McNeill, British Columbia has installed an alarm system that would help the facility prevent the death of thousands of fish in the event of a power failure.

The alarm system immediately sends out eight phone calls if there is an interruption in power that causes that turns the pumps off, which drops the oxygen levels, reported the North Island Gazette.

Once someone answers the call and is notified of the power break, they simply press star 11 and the alarm stops the automatic calling. That individual can then get to the hatchery to reset the breaker and make sure everything is up and running again.

The alarm system is seen as a lifesaver. It could prevent a similar incident from about two years ago when roughly 50,000 coho fry — about half of the fish being raised in tanks at that time — died when power cut out, Kokish River Fish Hatchery’s, Rob Engel, told the publication.

“If we get a break in the power it kicks the pump off in the hatchery and if there are no pumps running there is no oxygen and everything dies,” he said.

He said volunteers that run the facility have three hours at best to get down to the hatchery and restart the pumps and get oxygen flowing again.

With the alarm system, they can now rest easy. Marine Harvest donated the cost of putting in the system and local power company K&K Electric installed it at cost. “That was really appreciated, there is not a lot of money to run hatcheries and we run mostly on donations and volunteers,” said Engel, who added that there are currently 150,000 eggs that are set to hatch.

The Fisheries and Oceans Canada-licensed facility has released over five million salmon into the Kokish River on North Vancouver Island over the last 25 years.

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