The BC Government has announced that enhancements are being added to a “redesigned” Sooke River Jack Brooks Hatchery in an effort to protect the wild salmon-stock in the southern region of Vancouver Island.
Funding from both the provincial and federal governments will total $920,000 and be put towards developing a new salmon conservation facility.
The government suggests that the goal of the conservation facility is to lead to better salmon-stock assessment capabilities. The funding will upgrade effluent treatment equipment, reduce power consumption and utilize community engagement in an effort to protect wild salmon.
“We are proud to be working together with our federal and local partners to help restore B.C.’s wild salmon,” said Premier John Horgan. “The hatchery funding announced today is a key step to helping protect and repopulate wild salmon stocks, while balancing the need for environmental sustainability with the needs of Indigenous communities and local businesses.”
The main project components, highlighted by the province, includes four major developments that ultimately target the restoration of the Pacific salmon-stock.
First, funding will go towards equipment that enables the marking of hatchery fry in order to identify them later in life. Experts outline that this process can provide valuable scientific information to support restoration.
Second, a new, customized aeration system will be installed at the hatchery. A system of this nature will ensure the oxygen and nitrogen levels in the hatchery water are optimal for the holding of broodstock, harvesting eggs and growth of the salmon fry.
Third, an effluent treatment system will be added to ensure only clean water leaves the hatchery.
And finally, the Juan de Fuca Salmon Restoration Society – who will own and operate the facility – will implement cross-cultural learning opportunities for volunteers, as well as Indigenous and academic partners.
“The Juan de Fuca Salmon Restoration Society’s work to upgrade the Sooke River Jack Brooks Hatchery facility will provide invaluable guidance to support similar upgrades at other hatcheries and make the community-based enhancement facilities more efficient,” said Bernadette Jordan, federal Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard in a statement.
The takeaways, strategies and procedures will be provided to other hatcheries in order for them to follow in meeting expanded salmon restoration requirements.
“This facility will stand as a testament demonstrating the environmental legacy that can be produced when government funding assistance and our myriad of dedicated volunteers join forces to work together for Pacific salmon and our ecosystem,” added Elida Peers, secretary-treasurer with the Juan de Fuca Salmon Restoration Society
The project is expected to be completed by March 2022.