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.

Just Posted

LETTER: Fisheries letter invites colonized misinformation

Leah Ballantyne writes to share her disappointment in a recent letter to the Observer

RCMP urge caution for back to school drivers

Police are asking drivers to slow down and watch for pedestrians

Traffic accident on Highway 1

Hour long backup from Abbotsford to Langley

Sts’ailes invites adults to become engaged in Halq’eméylem with new video series

‘Qw’oqwel te Qw’oqwel’ gives language learners an immersive way to learn Halq’eméylem

B.C. Lions fall to 1-9 after 13-10 loss to Ticats

Lowly Leos have dropped six straight CFL contests

VIDEO: B.C. woman meets biological mother, 38 years later

Mother never gave up hope of finding daughter, despite all the obstacles

B.C. man who died after rescuing swimmer was known for helping others

Shaun Nugent described as a dad, a coach, a hero and ‘stand-up guy’ at celebration of life

B.C. RCMP plane chases fleeing helicopter as part of major cross-border drug bust

The helicopter eventually landed at a rural property near Chilliwack

Thousands cycle to conquer cancer

The 11th annual Ride to Conquer Cancer took place Saturday morning, Aug. 24 in Surrey, B.C.

PHOTOS: Brazil military begins operations to fight Amazon fires

Amazon fires have become a global issue, escalating tensions between Brazil and European countries

Racist confrontation in Richmond parking lot caught on camera

Woman can be heard yelling racial slurs, swear words at woman in apparent parking dispute

Groups ready campaign to help young voters identify ‘fake news’ in election

The media literacy campaign to focus on identifying misinformation and suspicious sources online

Most Read