Fish fry taking flight from hatchery

It was a high-flying adventure for thousands of fish Tuesday morning at the Puntledge River Hatchery.

Larry Church

Larry Church



It was a high-flying adventure for thousands of fish Tuesday morning at the Puntledge River Hatchery.

As part of their once-a-year release of coho salmon to Comox Lake, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada employs the use of a helicopter to transport fry to Comox Lake.

Working in conjunction with DFO, the Courtenay and District Fish and Game Protective Association was able to create a partnership, and send around 20,000 fish in the air, which were placed into Bradley Lake at the top of the Trent River.

“(The road near) Bradley Lake (has) been decommissioned … so we can’t drive there any more and we’re going to piggyback with Puntledge Hatchery so when they’re out placing fish we’re going to bring ours, too,” explained Larry Church, manager of the hatchery at the fish and game club.

He added volunteers have not been able to access the area for about three years.

“It’s a good solid source of water all summer, so it’s the best chance they have of surviving.”

Because of circumstances near their hatchery, particularly the loss of usable water, volunteers haven’t been able to oxygenate the water. Their facilities are more than 30 years old, Church said.

Now working with the Puntledge River Hatchery, volunteers have been able to incubate eggs and raise fry at the facility.

“Without bringing them here, we would not have a hatchery. It’s been a really good learning experience for my crew.”

DFO enlisted the help of Grizzly Helicopters to make six flights with about 40,000 fish per trip held in four separate oxygenated tanks hanging below.

Church said the hatchery onsite at the fish and game club is still a couple of years away from being fully functional, as they are going to hook onto the deep water intake being put in at Comox Lake.

The current (fish and game club) hatchery is on property loaned by logging companies, but the new facility will eventually be on property owned by the club.

“We will have some sort of building and raceways and not sure exactly what we’re going to have yet – we’re working in conjunction with Puntledge River Hatchery. We’re taking their lead on a lot of things.”

The coho released Tuesday are clipped – able to be caught – and will spend about one year in the river and two years in the ocean, and will be ready for anglers in about three to four years, added Church.

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Royston resident and photographer Tanja Kerr took a quick video of two eagles taking a quick dip in the water earlier this week. Video still/Tanja Kerr
Video: Eagle spotting in Royston

Photographer Tanja Kerr ensures her camera is always nearby

Rod Bitten of Union Bay won $500,000 in the Lotto Max draw on Jan. 15. Photo supplied
Union Bay electrician gets shocking surprise with $500K Extra win

Rod Bitten has been hard at work with home renovations, which is… Continue reading

Eighteen-year-old Aidan Webber died in a marine accident in 2019. He was a Canadian Junior BMX champion from Nanaimo. (Submitted)
Inadequate safety training a factor in teen BMX star’s workplace death in 2019

Aidan Webber was crushed by a barge at a fish farm near Port Hardy

Oyster River Fire Rescue members were called out to a suspicious fire in Black Creek. Two vehicles parked at a private residence were destroyed by fire. Photo courtesy Oyster River Fire Rescue
Suspicious fire destroys two vehicles at Black Creek residence

Oyster River Fire Rescue personnel were dispatched to a fire at a… Continue reading

The Northeast Woods in Comox is a popular area for hikers and mountain bike riders. It's also a protected park and conservation area. Photo by Scott Stanfield
Comox Valley RCMP seeking witnesses to ‘indecent act’ in Northeast Woods

Comox Valley RCMP are looking for witnesses after a man was seen… Continue reading

Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, vice-president of logistics and operations at the Public Health Agency of Canada, speaks at a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa, on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
B.C. records 500 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, 14 deaths

Outbreak at Surrey Pretrial jail, two more in health care

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Vancouver Canucks’ Travis Hamonic grabs Montreal Canadiens’ Josh Anderson by the face during first period NHL action in Vancouver, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horvat scores winner as Canucks dump Habs 6-5 in shootout thriller

Vancouver and Montreal clash again Thursday night

A suspect has been arrested in connection with fires at Drinkwater Elementary (pictured) and École Mount Prevost. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Arson suspect arrested after fires at Cowichan Valley schools

Drinkwater Elementary and Mount Prevost schools hit within a week

A woman writes a message on a memorial mural wall by street artist James “Smokey Devil” Hardy during a memorial to remember victims of illicit drug overdose deaths on International Overdose Awareness Day, in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, on Monday, August 31, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. paramedics respond to record-breaking number of overdose calls in 2020

On the front lines, COVID-19 has not only led to more calls, but increased the complexity

Nanaimo RCMP are seeking the public’s help after a man allegedly assaulted a clerk at James General Store on Victoria Road on Jan. 18. (Submitted photo)
Suspect screams at customer then assaults store clerk in Nanaimo

RCMP asking for information about Jan. 18 incident at James General Store

Chartwell Malaspina Care Residence in Nanaimo. (News Bulletin file photo)
Two Nanaimo care-home residents have died during COVID-19 outbreak

Death reported Monday was the second related to Chartwell Malaspina outbreak, says Island Health

Members of the BC RCMP Explosive Disposal Unit (EDU) is on route to Drummond Park opposite of Fulford Habour on Saltspring Island after the discovery of a suspicious cylindrical-shaped device. (Google/Screencap)
Bomb disposal unit en route to Salt Spring Island after suspicious device found in park

Police say a resident discovered the device Wednesday morning in Drummond Park opposite BC Ferries terminal

Seven streets in downtown Duncan, including Station Street, will soon have new native names added to their signage. (Submitted graphic)
New Duncan street signs will be in English and Hul’q’umi’num

Seven streets to get additional names in First Nations language

Most Read