The terrible turbulence at the Big Bar landslide site in the Fraser River is stopping fish from migrating upriver to reach spawning grounds. (Courtesy of Incident Command Post)

VIDEO: Sockeye stymied at the Big Bar blockage heading down to salmon lab

The sockeye will be transported in oxygenated holding tanks for a pilot enhancement project

Tanks containing sockeye salmon will soon be on their way down to the Cultus Lake Salmon Laboratory in Chilliwack from the Big Bar landslide site on the Fraser River.

Researchers at the federal lab in Chilliwack will be leading a pilot project to preserve some of this year’s run of Early Stuart sockeye through enhancement.

About 200 of the Early Stuart had reached the obstruction site by Sunday, and other sockeye populations were expected to be following right behind them.

“This creates a brief window of opportunity to confidently collect the Early Stuart before they are mingling with significant numbers of other sockeye stocks,” according to the July 28 release from the Incident Command Post team.

The sockeye on their way to the lab could yield up to 300,000 eggs, which would be incubated to produce salmon fry. Options range from fry being released back to the Stuart Lake system as part of stock enhancement, or they could be reared to maturity to contribute to future generations.

They are ironing out the logistics of transporting the fish in tanks from the Big Bar Landslide site to the rearing facilities in the Chilliwack lab by truck. The rationale for the enhancement program, proposed by First Nations, is doing what they can is to preserve some portion of the at-risk population until they have “increased certainty that natural migration can continue.”

The worry was that the Early Stuart sockeye would never make it to their spawning grounds near Fort St. John if they couldn’t open up a fish passage to let them through.

Federal and provincial government reps, along with the First Nations leaders, and other experts, have been strategizing how to help the trapped fish from on-site, and from the Incident Command Post (ICP) in Lillooet, where they have been chipping away at the blockage problem from several different angles.

The swift-moving water is impeding salmon and other fish from migrating upriver to reach spawning grounds, but they also created hazardous conditions for responding agencies at the site, which is not accessible by road.

The salmon being trucked down to the lab will undergo DNA analysis on arrival at Cultus Lake to confirm their “stock origin” before being transferred to holding tanks pumped with “cool, calm water” until they mature.

Re-opening the fish passage in the river has been the collaborative goal, and multiple strategies have been attempted.

“Some of these concurrent actions are to manipulate the slide site itself, while others are to transport fish above the slide.”

“The Big Bar Landslide Incident Command would like to acknowledge the contribution of a member of the Yinka Dene who proposed this salmon enhancement strategy for this Early Stuart Sockeye run that are currently affected by the Big Bar landslide, and for the decisions made by the First Nations Leadership Panel to endorse this project.”

READ MORE: Unblocking fish passage the goal

READ MORE: Visit from B.C. premier


@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

 

Capturing fish on the Fraser River at the Big Bar landslide site is underway with seining, nets and weirs. About 200 Early Stuart sockeye will be transported in holding tanks down to the Cultus Lake Salmon Lab in Chilliwack for an enhancement pilot program. (Courtesy of Incident Command Post)

Just Posted

Zoning changes on deck at city hall are ready for review

‘Let’s Talk Zoning’ session for the public is Tuesday, February 11, at Evergreen Hall

Chilliwack population growth among the fastest in B.C.

City surpasses Victoria for 13th largest city in province

Human rights complaint against Chilliwack non-profit withdrawn

Human Rights Tribunal no longer has hearing scheduled for former PEARL Life Renewal Society employee

Options are key at Klyn Kitchens and Cabinets in downtown Chilliwack

Formerly based out of his home in Rosedale, Martin Klyn moved his cabinetry business to Alexander

How would crowded Fraser Valley hospitals deal with patient surge? Officials won’t say

Amid coronavirus case and crowding issues, health officials won’t say where more patients would go

VIDEO: Chilliwack arson victim lights up rural property like a runway

Chris Thompson had enough after twice having barns torched in suspicious circumstances

Party bus door fault for years ahead of Langley woman’s death: Coroner

Tuesday report classifed Chelsea James’ death accidental, but was critical of bus inspection process

Sap thief taps Saanich park maple trees, faces hefty fine

One tree found with four taps in Mount Doug Park

B.C. reports first coronavirus in Vancouver region

First patient visited Wuhan, China, reported symptoms

Uber threatens legal action to ‘defend its right’ to operate in Surrey

‘I have no concerns,’ Mayor Doug McCallum replies

Victoria resident says WestJet employee uttered racist comment, refused to let her on plane

Customer claims she was told ‘You guys can’t handle your alcohol’ by WestJet employee

Bystander who tried to help dog being attacked not liable for its death: B.C. tribunal

Owner of dog killed tried to get $5,000 in damages from man who tried to save it

INFOGRAPHIC: See how fast your B.C. city grew in 2019

The province’s fastest-growing municipalities were located on Vancouver Island

Landowner hearings begin for Trans Mountain expansion in Alberta

Detailed route talks start in Spruce Grove, in B.C. communities soon

Most Read