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

Nanaimo mall evacuation sparked by 15-year-old with imitation gun

Police say Monday’s ‘dynamic scene’ at Woodgrove Mall handled calmly

Worried about bats? Here’s what to do if you come across one in B.C.

Bat expert with the BC Community Bat Program urges caution around the small creatures

Vancouver Island mom headed to overseas court in bid to reclaim daughter

Nanaimo’s Tasha Brown says her estranged wife abducted their daughter Kaydance Etchells in 2016

Wolves not gnawing into Island’s prey population

Forestry practices, not predation, blamed for reduced numbers in prey animals

South Island nursery cleared to sell ‘less than half’ of plants following sweeping quarantine

Single plant found with infected spores on July 3 put 100,000 plants at risk

VIDEO: Reports say Lashana Lynch is the new 007

Daniel Craig will reprise his role as Bond one last time

Push on to establish Vancouver Island as an arts powerhouse

Island-wide conversation underway on how the arts and culture can amplify economic development

B.C. adding fast-charge stations for electric highway trips

Okanagan, Vancouver Island, Kootenay stations ready for use

Statistics Canada warns of ‘deteriorating market conditions’ in Greater Victoria

Housing prices dropped 0.4 per cent in May 2019, according to Statistics Canada

Island exports focus of keynote at Economic Summit in Nanaimo

Peter Hall, vice president and chief economist with (EDC) is one of four keynote speakers

Views, brews and food on Gulf Islands craft beer cruise

Five day cruise from Sidney to Gulf Islands, includes chef and beer historian

Victoria businesses remain plastic-bag free, despite court ruling

Business association says no one has inquired into re-establishing the use of plastic bags

Bathtubbing’s ‘Mom’ honoured for a lifetime supporting the sport

Longtime Nanaimo volunteer Margaret Johnson depicted on souvenir coins and named parade marshal

South Island’s Deep Cove Chalet set to re-open following fire

North Saanich eatery says July 24 will be ‘business as normal’ following rebuild

Most Read