http://www.prsalmon.org/

Vandalism causes death of 700,000 young chum salmon at B.C. hatchery

Vandals broke into the Duck Lake near Powell River hatchery in late December

The manager of a salmon hatchery north of Vancouver says it will take years to recover from vandalism that led to the deaths of 700,000 fish.

Shane Dobler, hatchery manager for the Powell River Salmon Society, says vandals broke into the Duck Lake hatchery in late December.

They turned off valves and removed pipes, which cut water to incubation tanks filled with newly hatched chum salmon.

Dobler says 90 per cent of the tiny fish were deprived of oxygen and died, and the rest only survived because they had already been moved to different tanks that still had some water flow.

Dobler believes the vandalism was a “random act of foolishness.”

READ MORE: Pipelines, opioids and salmon fishing: A one-on-one with Andrew Scheer

He says the deaths will mean a lot less fish in the ocean for this particular cycle and he predicts the effects will be especially evident in four years.

But he adds the Powell River Salmon Society is very efficient at rearing salmon and he expects volunteers can rebuild chum returns to acceptable levels in 2023.

“We know we can make up the difference. Very confident in that,” he said. ”We are always looking for the victory and, in this case, we lost this round but we are looking for the victory in the next round.”

Dobler said 180 volunteers logged 13,000 hours with the society in 2018.

“It’s almost a religion here in Powell River.”

READ MORE: Help conserve salmon

He calls the loss hugely disappointing, but says “we can turn our attention to a heightened level of awareness and more security.”

Powell River RCMP said in a news release that the vandalism occurred sometime between Dec. 28 and Dec. 31, but they have offered few other details about the break-in at the hatchery on a remote road just east of the city.

“I don’t believe anybody went out to kill fish that day,” said Dobler. “But if you are smoking and driving through the forest on a hot day and you throw your cigarette out the window, I’m sure you didn’t mean to light a fire, either.”

The society is holding a fundraising drive as it works to improve security at its hatcheries and augment its salmon preservation fund, said Dobler.

“We don’t plan to lose another round.”

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

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

Just Posted

Southeast Kootenay school district set to reopen next week

Individual schools have creative timetables and schedules in order to adhere to public health orders

George Morris turns 99

Friends, family and neighbours gathered outside at Terra Lee Terraces in Cranbrook… Continue reading

Rotarians at work at Fred Scott Villas

Members of the Cranbrook Rotary Club, along with some key community volunteers,… Continue reading

The Weed Warrior: an invasive weed, new to the East Kootenay

Wild Parsnip is a plant that most of us don’t want to have a Close Encounter of any Kind with

Possible Kermode Bear spotted near Castlegar

A local resident spotted the white-coloured bear while on an evening trail run on May 27

Vancouver Island bride held wedding in seniors home so dying stepdad could walk her down aisle

Ceremony held amidst pandemic in order to fulfill bride’s wish to have stepdad give her away

‘I knew what he wanted’: Man recalls black bear chasing him up tree in Slocan Valley

Francis Levasseur is no stranger to the outdoors, but a recent run-in with a bear caused quite a scare

PHOTOS: U.S. cities brace for increasing unrest over police killing of George Floyd

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz has fully mobilized the state’s National Guard

Suspect in West Kootenay gas station stabbing found dead

Police say the 30-year-old suspect stabbed a Montrose gas station employee

$200,000 Maybach impounded after ‘L’ driver caught excessively speeding in Vancouver

Meanwhile, the supervisor sat in the passenger seat, police said

Introducing the West Coast Traveller: A voyage of the mind

Top armchair travel content for Alaska, Yukon, BC, Alberta, Washington, Oregon and California!

COVID-19 cancelled their wedding plans, so they married on a B.C. mountaintop

Ceremony was live streamed to friends and family around the world

Yukon ready to lift COVID travel restrictions with B.C. in July: premier

Premier Sandy Silver says the territory’s health-care system can cope with the virus.

‘It is dire:’ Study finds B.C. logging continues on critical caribou habitat

The federal Species At Risk Act requires provinces to identify critical habitat for caribou herds

Most Read