Metro Vancouver Regional Parks are home to five hatcheries that produce the largest number of fry released in creeks and rivers in BC, contributing to the region’s ecological health.
Metro Vancouver and its member municipalities own a significant amount of salmon habitat that produce by far the largest number of the seven different species of salmon that call BC waters their home.
Brian Riddell, President & CEO, Pacific Salmon Foundation explains how the integration of lands under Metro Vancouver’s jurisdiction is very important to salmon. “Some of the areas may not all be salmon habitat, but the fact is that many of those habitats are key headwaters for the water that will support salmon,” he said. “I believe that Metro Vancouver is the largest land owners in the region so right there alone they are one of the most important groups for conservation of wild salmon in our area.”
There are five hatcheries situated on Metro Vancouver lands: from Crippen Regional Park on Bowen Island, to Capilano River Regional Park and the Lower Seymour Conservation Reserve on the North Shore, Tynehead Regional Park in Surrey and Kanaka Creek Regional Park in Maple Ridge. Of these, only the Capilano River Hatchery is operated by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.
Jeremy Smith is an Enhancement Technician at the Capilano River Hatchery. He is recording the trapped fish that have traveled up the Hatchery fish ladder, which will then be safely transported to the watershed to continue their life cycle. “These are Coho Salmon and there are some hatchery fish in here which means that they were reared as juveniles at this facility,” he said. Smith points at a small fin on the fish’s spine, near the tail. “This fin is the adipose. In the hatchery setting its clipped and that way we can distinguish whether or not they originated here.”
The hatchery releases more a million salmon fry into the wild every year, as well as hosting 200 thousand visitors. But the smaller, community run hatcheries also play a vital role in educating the public.
Ross Davis volunteers at the Bell Irving Hatchery in Kanaka Creek and is actively involved in public outreach and community events. “When we were young, we were out catching snakes, frogs and going fishing. We’re trying to get our kids in touch with the land and raise a different kind of child which will make a different kind of adult.”
The Pacific Salmon Foundation supports educational programs in hatcheries. Grants are funded through the sale of salmon conservation stamps, which are required for Salmon anglers who want to keep the fish they catch.
The five hatcheries situated on Metro Vancouver lands are all open to the public as part of their continuing commitment to education, and the stewardship of BC’s salmon population. Metro Vancouver Regional Parks offers salmon-related park interpretation programs and events.
See Metro Vancouver’s Check it Out! Program Guide for a list of family-friendly events and activities to learn about, connect with and enjoy nature in regional parks.