Carcasses for the future

Annual salmon carcass collection to help fertilize river

Ted Hollington shovels dead chum onto a conveyor belt in a spawning channel of the Little Qualicum River.

Ted Hollington shovels dead chum onto a conveyor belt in a spawning channel of the Little Qualicum River.

There are many things most Oceanside residents would rather do first thing in the morning besides shoveling rotting carcasses while waist deep in water, but Pat Jacobson sure enjoys it.

The president of the Qualicum Beach Streamkeepers was on hand at a spawning channel on the Little Qualicum River Thursday, along with a crew of eager shovelers as they collected dead salmon carcasses for redistribution higher up the river.

“The salmon add nutrients to the soil and support a lot of other creatures,” Jacobson said. “We will be taking about 3,500 pounds of chum out of here in order to nourish life in the years ahead.”

Little Qualicum River Fish Hatchery spokesperson  Tom Forest said the dead fish not only nourish the marine environment, but also the plants and animals along the side of the river.

He said this year has seen a healthy run of salmon, with close to 80,000 fish in the river, compared to about 30,000 fish for all of last year’s run.

“It’s a bumper crop this year,” he said. “We have no idea why.”

 

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