In death, some salmon help the living

As good causes go, the chum salmon carcass program in the Comox Valley does not have the sexiest name.

  • Nov. 15, 2011 1:00 p.m.


As good causes go, the chum salmon carcass program in the Comox Valley does not have the sexiest name.

Eight dedicated volunteers, though, are lifesavers every year to salmon that are in a desperate struggle to get up the Puntledge River and spawn before they perish.

Larry Peterson, still going strong at 71, explains that many salmon can’t get past BC Hydro’s power-generating dam high on the Puntledge.

That prevents them from reaching Comox Lake and the streams that flow into it, as they did before the dam was built about 100 years ago to supply power for John Dunsmuir’s coal-mining operation at nearby Cumberland.

“We’re helping Nature carry on the work she used to do,” says Peterson.

What they do is take already-spawned dead chum from the Puntledge Hatchery and distribute them into streams that feed into the lake, providing nutrients for living salmon and trout.

BC Hydro supplies $2,000 to pay for gas and rent a truck, which Peterson says Budget rents to them at an affordable rate. Nick Strussi of the Puntledge River Restoration Committee co-ordinates the program.

Volunteers come from groups such as the Comox Valley chapter of the Steelhead society of B.C. and the conservation committee of the Courtenay and District Fish and Game Protective Association, with support from Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

Eight volunteers worked five straight days earlier this month to distribute 3,000 to 4,000 carcasses, Peterson estimates.

Strussi is two years older than Peterson, who admits the program could use some younger recruits for next year.

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

Just Posted

Orcas spotted hunting north of Comox

Did you see the orcas in the area on Feb. 20? Ella… Continue reading

PHOTOS: Iconic aircraft at 19 Wing Comox entrance undergoes facelift

PHOTOS: Iconic aircraft at 19 Wing Comox entrance undergoes facelift

VIDEO: Comox airport’s Make-A-Wish send-off fit for a galaxy not so far away

Mattias Beck, 15, received an extra special start for Make-A-Wish trip

North Island Fiddlers hosting Spring Fling in Royston

Groundhog Day is long past, and Valentine’s Day has come and gone,… Continue reading

Comox Valley Citizens on Patrol celebrates 25 years of service

Comox Valley Citizens on Patrol Society (COPS) just celebrated its 25th year… Continue reading

Blair says RCMP have met Wet’suwet’en conditions, calls for end to blockades

The Wet’suwet’en’s hereditary chiefs oppose the Coastal GasLink project

Comox Valley Beefs & Bouquets for week of Feb. 18

More beefs to the tip-expecting server; a bouquet to BC Transit

Petition seeks to remove local police department from Lindsay Buziak murder case

American woman starts online petition in hopes of helping Buziak family

Health officials confirm sixth COVID-19 case in B.C.

Woman remains in isolation as Fraser Health officials investigate

Study says flu vaccine protected most people during unusual influenza season

Test-negative method was pioneered by the BC Centre for Disease Control in 2004

Saskatchewan and B.C. reach championship round at Scotties

British Columbia’s Corryn Brown locked up the last berth in Pool B

Resident discovers five discarded hog heads in Vancouver Island ditch

WARNING: Graphic image may be upsetting to some readers

B.C. lawyer, professor look to piloting a mental-health court

In November, Nova Scotia’s mental-health court program marked 10 years of existence

Development proposal in Courtenay stalled at third reading

A development proposal adjacent to the Crown Isle Resort and Golf Community… Continue reading

Most Read