Around 100,000 chum salmon fry have been released into the French Creek. — Michael Briones photo

100,000 chum salmon released in French Creek

Marion Baker Hatchery raises stock from eggs to fry

Approximately 100,000 chum salmon fry were released into the French Creek on May 4.

The dedicated volunteers from the Marion Baker Fish Hatchery, owned by the Parksville Fish and Game Association, who have been raising the little critters since they were eggs to approximately a gram in size, carefully netted them from their holding tank and transported them in buckets via fire brigade style into the nearby creek. The fry will eventually swim out into the ocean.

It’s an annual ritual for the hatchery that always bring smile to the many volunteers as it gives them the deep satisfaction of knowing that they are helping replenish the salmon stock that will lead to healthy returns annually.

READ MORE: Local hatchery work paying off

Only about one per cent of the original 100,000 will ultimately survive, said Don Jordan, chairman of the Marian Baker Hatchery committee, but they make it back to French Creek after three years.

In June, the hatchery will also release approximately 35,ooo coho fry. Their adipose fin will be clipped to identify them as hatchery-reared fish prior to sending them off to the creek.

The task, however, will not be a easy as the chum salmon as the coho stay in the creek longer. They are released in various parts of the creek where big pools exists.

“So if they stay, they will have water through the dry summer,” Jordon explained.

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Michael Briones photo Don Jordan, chair of the Marian Baker Hatchery committee, leads volunteers in netting the chum fry from their holding tank.

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