Salmon swimming free
The salmon that have been hand fed by dedicated volunteers over the last five weeks are about to be released from their net pens at the Deep Bay Marina.
Every two hours during the day a group of Nile Creek Enhancement Society (NCES) volunteers have been feeding salmon that were hatched at the Nile Creek hatchery in Bowser. On Wednesday the fish will be released and the pink salmon will return in the fall.
NCES members have been working to restore the pink salmon population in the area. which was devastated by development during construction of the Inland Island Highway.
NCES President Ken Kirkby said their efforts to restore the creek and the work at the hatchery has brought the pink salmon back in historical numbers.
In order to guarantee successful returns Kirkby said they nurse about 300,000 fish in the net pens until they are big and strong enough to be released.
He said the work is tedious but it results in a better survival rate for the fish.
“The rate of return at Nile Creek has skyrocketed over the past five years by doing this,” he stated.
NCES projects have grown from initially restoring the side channels in Nile Creek and Kirkby said their continuing rehabilitation efforts help to support local fishing opportunities.
“The restoration is from the top of the mountain to the sea. We have taken on six more rivers and are doing work in the estuaries as well as the ocean.”
Kirkby is hoping his group can partner with other environmental groups on the Island including those who are restoring Chef and Cook Creek.
“My hope is to bring together a loose knit group so we are all in contact and sharing the knowledge we have gained and be one large effective entity.”adfasdf