Fish hatchery invites public to ‘egg take day’ 

Spawning adult chinook salmon are awaiting "egg take day" at the Mt. Currie Fish Hatchery next weekend.

The annual broodtake for the salmon took place last weekend on the Birkenhead River when local fisherman and Pemberton Wildlife Association members angled for large male and female chinook salmon.

This yearly event marks the start of the new generation of fish at the hatchery. By laying their eggs and milt in captivity the chinook salmon will increase in population.

"Many of the adult chinook returning to the Birkenhead River to spawn every year are likely ‘hatchery fish’ and are a direct indication of the success of the hatchery enhancement program," said Lisa Helmer, habitat technician for Pemberton.

The Mt. Currie Hatchery also raises coho salmon and used to raise steelhead.

The Birkenhead River chinook are one of only three runs in the lower Fraser River system that are genetically unique stock, therefore they are in need of protective management initiatives in order to ensure stock levels don’t deplete in the future.

Eggs are raised in trays at the hatchery until they reach "alevin" or "fry" stage. Then they are released into a series of long tubs and raised until they are ready to be released back into the wild as "smolts" or yearlings.

The "egg take" will take place on Sunday, Aug. 24. There will also be a family barbecue, hatchery tours and a weigh-in of fish from the annual Pemberton Wildlife Association Fishing Derby that day. The derby takes place on Saturday, Aug. 23.

"It’s a great time to bring the whole family out to the hatchery," said Helmer.

"Rarely does the public get a chance to find out about that hatchery," she added.

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