Tens of Thousands of Salmon Eggs Placed in Rennie's River


Tens of thousands of salmon eggs placed in Rennie's River

Josh Pennell
Published on November 24, 2014

For the third consecutive year, tens of thousands of salmon eggs have been placed in the Rennie’s River in an effort to bring wild Atlantic salmon back to waters where they were once plentiful.

Scott Nightingale of the Salmonid Association of Eastern Newfoundland (SAEN) says the eggs come from salmon in the Exploits River.

Including this year, SAEN has placed about 300,000 eggs in the river.

“What we’re trying to do is mimic nature and we’ll take the time to fertilize and sterilize the eggs,” he says.

Sterilizing the eggs with iodine helps protect them from fungal infections, though the procedure doesn’t mimic nature but protects the eggs against it.

In the wild, Nightingale says, about eight to 12 per cent of the eggs an individual fish lays will hatch.

Using the iodine results in a much higher hatch rate — about 90 to 98 per cent.

The eggs have been placed at 140 different sites and are placed further upstream than salmon would normally spawn, but also further upstream than the large brown trout that would eat the eggs.

“So right away, the eggs are off to a better start than the ones in the wild,” says Nightingale.

Salmon were extirpated more than a hundred years ago from the river, he says, as the city expanded and pollution drove the fish out. Now the river has been rehabilitated to the point that there’s enough habitat to support a wild run of Atlantic salmon.