A farmed Atlantic salmon, one of several caught off of French Creek within the past several days, has been frozen and will be delivered to Fisheries and Oceans Canada for examination. — J.R. Rardon photo

Atlantic salmon caught in Sto:lo net on the Fraser River near Chilliwack

Whether or not spilled Atlantics will hurt Fraser wild salmon is unknown, says FN advisor

At least three Atlantic salmon showed up last weekend in Aboriginal nets along the Fraser River —including one near Chilliwack.

It’s setting off alarms because it’s exceedingly rare, said Cheam Chief Ernie Crey, a director with the Fraser Valley Aboriginal Fisheries Society (FVAFS).

The Atlantic salmon were noted by catch monitors at: Shxwhá:y Village in Chilliwack, Yale First Nation, and Katzie First Nation, near Pitt Meadows.

“We count and monitor and certify the Aboriginal catch, and turn that data over to DFO.

“Recently we found out that three Atlantic salmon had been reported,” said Crey, talking about the work of the FVAFS.

How rare is it? The last time he remembers was in the late 1990s.

These rogue fish could be from the large escapement of farmed Atlantic reported last month, from a breached fish farm owned by Cooke Aquaculture in Washington State. DFO has had dozens of reports in recent weeks from various parts of the province.

READ MORE: Accidental escape at fish farm

“They are obviously roaming,” Crey said.

It that doesn’t mean there are not many more, if that’s the case. Thousands escaped and it was blamed on high tides causing a structural break.

“It worries us although we don’t know if the worry is with foundation. And whether it will result in harmful effects on migrating salmon, I don’t know,” Chief Crey said. “To us they are an unknown entity.”

DFO is asking anyone who catches a farmed salmon to report it to the Atlantic Salmon Watch program at 1-800-811-6010. One distinguishing feature is black spots on the gill cover.

READ: High tides were to blame in part

B.C. Agriculture Minister Lana Popham said after the spill it wasn’t immediately clear what impact the release could possibly have, but that the government was committed to looking at the possibility of land-based containment of aquaculture pens.

The Progress contacted Fisheries and Ocean Canada to get an idea of how many Atlantic salmon had been reported in the Fraser system after these certified catches connected with Aboriginal fisheries, but no answer was available in a timely fashion. Instead a media teleconference was set for Friday with DFO’s Atlantic Salmon Watch official, so stay tuned at www.theprogress.com for updates.


 

@chwkjourno
jfeinberg@theprogress.com

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

 

How to identify an Atlantic salmon, from Fisheries and Oceans Canada website.

Just Posted

Umbrella decorating contest to raise funds, awareness for Ann Davis Transition Society in Chilliwack

People invited to decorate red umbrellas as part of Umbrellas for Change: The Ann Davis Art Contest

No injuries in midnight house fire near Sardis Park

Crews from five Chilliwack fire halls responded to get house fire under control

Chilliwack school district staff working on September classroom plans

More information about back-to-school plans to be unveiled by Aug. 26 says senior district staff

Chilliwack-Hope MP looking to celebrate pandemic community heroes

Eligible community heroes include individuals, businesses and not-for-profits

B.C. records 146 new COVID-19 cases through long weekend

More that 28 people tested positive for the virus each day since Friday

Canucks tame Minnesota Wild 4-3 to even NHL qualifying series

J.T. Miller leads Vancouver with goal and an assist

Cyclist in hospital after being hit by load of lumber hanging from truck on B.C. highway

A man is in hospital with broken ribs, punctured lung and a broken clavicle and scapula

COVID-19 vaccine efforts provide hope but no silver bullet to stop pandemic: Tam

There are more than two dozen vaccines for COVID-19 in clinical trials around the world

Staff member tests positive for COVID-19 at Maple Ridge Seniors Village

Fraser Health is on site implementing outbreak protocols at the seniors care facility

Two people die in propane heated outdoor shower near Princeton

Couple was attending a long weekend gathering

Racism in B.C. healthcare: Deadline for First Nations survey coming up on Aug. 6

Survey comes after hospital staff allegedly played a blood alcohol guessing game

‘We want to help’: As overdose deaths spike, beds lay empty at long-term Surrey rehab centre

John Volken Academy searching for ‘students’ to enlist in two-year residential treatment program

Study shines light on what makes LGBTQ+ youth feel safe in a community

The study goes beyond looking at school or family supports

Most Read