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Powell River to release thousands of young salmon

Powell River will be releasing thousands of salmon fry into Willingdon Creek as part of a fish preservation project.

It involves the Powell River Parks Department, the Powell River Salmon Society and Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

The society donated the 5,500 baby salmon while the city is responsible for system design, labour and materials.

In an interview with Vista Radio, Parks Supervisor Mike Kaban says they revived a project that was done for a couple of year about a decade ago by his predecessor, Paul Nassichuk, with Shane Dobler of the society.

Kaban says a number of people came to together to make it happen including the city’s irrigation technologist, who has a background is aquaculture.

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“We are excited about it. Powell River is known for fish around the world for sports fishing and you can hardly talk about Powell River without sports fishing. These are chum but it does add nutrients back into the water and into the creek system and it is a really good thing for our area,” Kaban said.

While there are 5,500 young salmon in the trough, the tank could handle 70,000.

“Anything we put into the Willingdon Beach area creek, McFall Creek area, essentially we are taking it out of the Lang Creek Estuary. These fish would be going into the ocean anyway through the Powell River Salmon Society. But this is just allowing us to get some more natural levels back to this creek,” Kaban explained.

The salmon will be released after they’re raised in water from Willingdon Creek – a process called imprinting – that started Tuesday and will take 10 days to complete.

Once they’re released, it’s hoped they will return to spawn and create a reproduction cycle.

The imprinting and release is planned for every year going forward.

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