Posted by: marineharvestcanada | December 17, 2008

Marine Harvest helps hatcheries

Local hatcheries are benefitting from fish farm hand-me-downs.

Marble River and Quatse River hatcheries have both recently received equipment from Marine Harvest that is no longer used by the company.

At Marble River, old wooden net pens have been replaced with metal ones. The original wood pens were built in 1982, says hatchery volunteer Debbie Anderson, with additions made as needed.

“It’s so amazing to walk down there now and not slip and slide and the nets all fit properly,” said Anderson during a tour of the hatchery. “Everything is so easy to clean now. We are saving so much money on maintenance.”

The 40-foot square pens, worth $17,800 to the hatchery upgrade, have been downsized to 16-foot square to make them manageable for two or three volunteers. Marine Harvest now routinely uses 100-foot square pens, added Ian Roberts, of Marine Harvest.

“Originally these were probably from a saltwater farm, then moved to freshwater for rearing,” said Roberts. “Then the pens became too small for Marine Harvest’s use.”

The Marble River Hatchery has made a significant impact on the wild fish stocks in the river systems around Marble River.

“In 1982, there were 500 chinook returns in the Marble,” said Anderson. Canneries, fishing, logging, the mill, the mine, all played a part.” Now, returns are stabilized at 2,000 to 5,000. Hatchery volunteers also enhanced all the little coho creeks nearby.

“We haven’t had to enhance them in six years now,” said Anderson. “Now there’s salmon spawning everywhere.”

Over at the Quatse Hatchery, new tanks to hold fish have been installed as part of the upgrade to the facility and the adding of a new salmon interpretive centre, due to open in early 2009.

The 10 14-foot tanks replace four 12-foot and four 10-foot tanks. The new tanks are submerged in the ground about a foot, says hatchery manager Ken Fuller, making it easier for visitors to view the fish during tours.

But the real benefit is the capacity. Quatse Hatchery is a satellite facility that enhances several different salmon stocks from several different rivers in the area. More tanks, with larger volume, makes it easier to keep stock segregated, said Fuller. Stock from each river is returned to its own river, they are not mixed.

By Teresa Bird – North Island Gazette


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