Volunteers carefully examine eggs in preparation for fertilization at the A Rocha Buck Creek CANFOR hatchery. The volunteer on the left is Yvonne Lam from Hong Kong. She’s been helping out since September. Her last day is Nov. 20. (Photo courtesy Cindy Verbeek)

Volunteers carefully examine eggs in preparation for fertilization at the A Rocha Buck Creek CANFOR hatchery. The volunteer on the left is Yvonne Lam from Hong Kong. She’s been helping out since September. Her last day is Nov. 20. (Photo courtesy Cindy Verbeek)

Egg fertilization a success at hatchery

And building expansion is on track

A successful fertilization of coho salmon eggs should mean approximately 2,400 fry being released next year into the Upper Bulkley River Watershed.

The eggs were taken from one female by volunteers with A Rocha’s Buck Creek CANFOR hatchery.

“It was a tough year to try to find fish but an excellent year for the fish. Water was high and cool which is perfect for the salmon migration,” reports A Rocha coordinator Cindy Verbeek.

The high water meant there were no barriers stopping the salmon, enabling to gain access to kilometres of good spawning habitat normally inaccessible to them, she said.

“It also means that water temperatures are more favourable for spawning success. Unfortunately for us that also means it is very difficult to find them in such a large watershed and if we do find them very difficult to catch them,” Verbeek continued.

But thanks to more volunteers, who provide their time under the Upper Bulkley River Streamkeepers title, spending more time on the river this fall than ever before, the one female was secured.

“I am so thankful for their help and dedication,” Verbeek said of those volunteering their time at the hatchery.

Aside from the annual task of raising fry to the release stage, construction began this year on expanding the main hatchery building so as to provide space for educational and other events.

“Construction has reached the point where we had hoped it would be by the time the snow flies. The outside is almost done with just trim and a front door step left,” said Verbeek.

“And we are further ahead inside than we thought we would be by now.”

The COVID-19 pandemic this spring slowed down the raising of money to finish the structure, causing A Rocha to then halt efforts, resulting in it being about $25,000 short of its goal.

As of now, the shortfall is approximately $15,000 with a fundraising drive underway this month to raise what’s needed to finish the expansion’s interior, said Verbeek.

“Our hope is that we can be completed by April 22, Earth Day next year for a grand opening event and be ready for tourists by the May long weekend,” said Verbeek.

 

A Rocha Buck Creek CANFOR hatchery volunteers looking for a female coho from which to take eggs for fertilization. (Photo courtesy Cindy Verbeek)

A Rocha Buck Creek CANFOR hatchery volunteers looking for a female coho from which to take eggs for fertilization. (Photo courtesy Cindy Verbeek)

Work on the expansion to the A Rocha Buck Creek CANFOR hatchery is on track and has shifted to finishing the interior. The hatchery has launched a campaign to raise money to complete the work. (Photo courtesy District of Houston)

Work on the expansion to the A Rocha Buck Creek CANFOR hatchery is on track and has shifted to finishing the interior. The hatchery has launched a campaign to raise money to complete the work. (Photo courtesy District of Houston)