(Unceded Territory of Lheidli T’enneh First Nations – July 6, 2021) After over 10 years of low returns for the Early Stuart sockeye salmon run, hope may finally be on the horizon for a resurgence. With the aid of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), Inch Creek Hatchery, and the Takla and Tlazt’en First Nations, 60,000 sockeye smolts were released on June 8 in Gluskie Creek to help rebuild the salmon population.
Sockeye smolts released in Gluskie Creek
While the Early Stuart sockeye run has been low for over a decade, the Big Bar landslide in 2019 further endangered the species’ migration routes and population. This encouraged the Big Bar Landslide Response Team, a collaboration of DFO, The Province and First Nations, to team up with Inch Creek Hatchery and First Nations Groups from the Spawning grounds to help improve the population. Over 60,000 eggs were taken, fertilized, hatched and raised at the Inch Creek Hatchery in Dewdney, B.C. Once the smolts had reached 10 months of age, Inch Creek Hatchery brought the smolts up to Middle River to release the fish at Gluskie Creek. Representatives from Takla Lake First Nation, Tl’azt’en Nation, CSTC and DFO attended the release.
Kayleigh Patrick, Kimberely Alec, and John Alec Sr. looking over the release with DFO officer Kevin Laarman
The hope is that a portion of these 60,000 smolts will return in 3 years as full-sized salmon to breed and help raise the fish population. With easier passage through Big Bar, good ocean conditions and the right environmental conditions during migration, we should see an increase in the fish population for years to come.