One million Pink salmon fry were released into Nile Creek on April 4. - Karly Blats photo

One million pink salmon fry begin their journey from Nile Creek to open waters

Fry will spend close to two years in the ocean and then survivors will return to spawn

Close to one million pink salmon fry were released into Nile Creek today (April 4) and will make their way to the ocean by nightfall.

The Nile Creek Enhancement Society acquired their annual batch of pink walmon eggs last November from the Quinsam River near Campbell River and raised them in tanks at the Nile Creek Hatchery until they matured enough to be released.

Hatchery president Jack Gillen said once the eggs hatch in the tanks, they are referred to as alevin and live from their yoke sac until late March or early April. At this time, they have matured into fry and are about 2.5 centimetres long.

READ MORE: Nile Creek Hatchery gets one million pink salmon eggs to hatch and release

The fry swim from their tanks, through a tube and into a trough where they are then transferred in plastic buckets to a bath tub. They then swim down another long plastic tube into Nile Creek.

“Within 24 hours they’re out in the ocean because they can’t eat in fresh water,” Gillen said. “On the way out they provide food for coho smolts that are in [Nile Creek].”

The salmon stay out in the ocean for about two years and will then return to Nile Creek to spawn. Only about one to one-and-a-half per cent of the salmon will return to spawn.

“One per cent is OK, 1.5 per cent is really good and anything above that is fantastic,” Gillen said.

Gillen said the reason for the low return count is because over the years fishing and commercial fishing has improved and seals, sea lions and other predators will eat a large portion of the fish.

Without the work of the hatchery, Gillen said, there would be no more fish coming back to the creek which would have a “great impact because there are hundreds of guys and gals that come and fly fish on the beaches.”

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter 


A long tube is placed in Nile Creek for close to one million Pink salmon fry to swim down from tanks in Nile Creek Hatchery. - Karly Blats

Pink salmon fry get ready to swim down a long tube into Nile Creek and then to the ocean. - Karly Blats photo

Just Posted

‘Handmade for Hope’ will run at Orca Place in Parksville

Grant received; program will run in different room

RDN residents display good recycling habits

Program shows most people comply with collection rules

Parksville swimmer shatters four world records

Nicholas Bennett, 16, shines on world stage

Errington mill closes, approximately 50 workers lose their jobs

Family-owned operation was open for 30 years

Bag of cocaine left in Parksville Qualicum Beach grocery store aisle

RCMP: ‘We sure would like to talk to’ person who left drugs behind

VIDEO: Federal Liberals’ throne speech welcomes opposition’s ideas

Trudeau will need NDP or Bloc support to pass legislation and survive confidence votes

VIDEO: John Lennon’s iconic Rolls Royce rolls into Vancouver Island college for checkup

Royal BC Museum, Camosun College and Coachwerks Restorations come together to care for car

VIDEO: Rockslide closes part of Highway 93 in Fairmont Hot Springs

Geotechnical team called in to do an assessment after rocks fell from hoodoos

Petition calls for appeal of ex-Burns Lake mayor’s sentence for sex assault

Prosecution service says Luke Strimbold’s case is under review

Northwest B.C. wildlife shelter rescues particularly tiny bear cub

Shelter co-founder says the cub weighs less than a third of what it should at this time of year

BC firefighters to help battle Australian bushfires

Canada sent 22 people, including 7 from B.C.

B.C. NDP touts the end of MSP premiums

Horgan, James held news conference to reiterate that people will get their last bill this month

Oscar Hickes: Longest running hockey tournament on Vancouver Island cancelled

Patrick Murray, one of the organizers for the tournament, broke the sad news on social media.

Illicit drug deaths down, but B.C. coroner says thousands still overdose

Chief coroner Life Lapointe says province’s drug supply remains unpredictable

Most Read