Three-quarters of a million chum salmon smolts wiped out after vandals damage British Columbia hatchery

A Canadian conservation group is devastated after vandals damaged a salmon hatchery, leading to the deaths of nearly 700,000 salmon.

According to a news release from the Powell River Royal Canadian Mounted Police (reported in mycomoxvalleynow) officers responded to a report of mischief at the Powell River Salmon Society hatchery site at Duck Lake on January 3, 2019. The Powell River Salmon Society is a registered non-profit that contracts with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans to help increase the stock of wild salmon. It operates four sites, including the Duck Lake facility.

Ed Oldfield, president of the Powell River Salmon Society, told Global News that someone entered the grounds of the Duck Lake hatchery during Dec. 28 to 31, and interfered with key equipment resulting in the death of around 700,000 chum salmon.

“[They] altered nine of the valves that control flow to the water tanks,” he said. “They also took out stand pipes that went into the fish tanks. So it altered the water flow and caused a lack of water and oxygen for the fish, and we lost about 90 per cent of our chum fish.”

The society crew believe this will affect salmon stocks for the next 16 years. However it won’t completely devastate the river’s fish stocks because the hatchery only harvests about 20 to 25 per cent of eggs every year, they said.


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