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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

QUIZ: Are you ready for a summer road trip?

How much do you really know about roads, motor vehicles and car culture? Take this quiz to find out.

Provincial COVID-19 data can now be used for B.C. to prepare for a second wave

In the past week, B.C. has seen a slight spike in daily test-positive case counts

Shuswap Royal Canadian Legion branches happy to be open again

With COVID-19 restrictions easing, the legion halls are back.

Dozens of fish die at popular lake near Chase

A few natural phenomena are possible causes for their deaths.

Transport truck driver ticketed after rear-ending semi, closing Highway 1 in Shuswap

Truck catches fire, Chase RCMP ticket man for following too closely

Okanagan sisters-in-law sleep out successful

Kiley Routley and Heidi Routley raise nearly $2,400 and awareness for youth homelessness

Beverly Hills 90210 star’s family selling Vancouver Island Beach Resort

You can own Jason Priestley’s Terrace Beach Resort in Ucluelet for less than $5 million

Genetic detectives begin work to trace spread of COVID-19 in Canada

The kinds of genetic technology being used for this project did not exist when SARS hit Canada in 2003

Sports fishers protest Fraser River Chinook closures

Public Fishery Alliance wants hatchery fish open for harvest

COVID-19: Homeless to be relocated from temporary Okanagan shelter

Homeless shelters in Vernon have been combined into one site at the curling rink since April

Amber Alert for two Quebec girls cancelled after bodies found

Romy Carpentier, 6, Norah Carpentier, 11, and their father, Martin Carpentier, missing since Wednesday

B.C. man prepares to be first to receive double-hand transplant in Canada

After the surgery, transplant patients face a long recovery

Most Read