Fish kill recovery slowed by loss of hatchery
CBC News Posted: Aug 9, 2012 8:25 AM AT
Without a fish hatchery to help restock streams hit by fish kills on P.E.I. the recovery of those waterways will take a few more years, says the Atlantic Salmon Federation.
The province is looking for a new hatchery to provide salmon and brook trout to restock Island rivers.
For 80 years ago the Cardigan Fish Hatchery in eastern P.E.I. ran a program to enhance fish populations around the Island, keeping genetic stock of fish from waterways all over the province. It was established by the federal government in the 1930s but passed into private hands. The province continued to fund a fish enhancement program, but the hatchery recently gave up that business in favour of growing fish for aquaculture.
The program has taken on a new importance in recent years, with a growing number of incidents of fish being killed by sediments washed into streams by heavy rain.
This year, because of the change, P.E.I. rivers were stocked in June instead of in the fall. That was before a major fish kill on the Trout River.
"Any time you stock fish into an area where there has been a fish kill, they do quite well. It actually kick-starts that particular section of stream, reduces the amount of time to recovery," said Todd Dupuis of the Atlantic Salmon Federation.
"Without such a program it just means it's going to take a few more years for any recovery."
Dupuis said he's concerned there won't be much interest from companies willing to spawn fish for the province, because there's not a lot of money involved. The province says it'll pay up to $45,000 a year.
A spokesperson for the Department of Forestry said while there won't be any stocking this fall, the department is hopeful a new hatchery will be in place in time for next year.