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REPORTING · 15th December 2010
Walter McFarlane
Last year, the sudden announcement of the Eurocan closure left the Kitimat Fish Hatchery without a steady source of hot water. The hatchery used hot water to heat their facilities, de-ice their water intakes and cause the steelhead salmon they raised to grow twice as fast.

There was a report from the Kitimat Fish Hatchery at the Sport Fishing Advisory Board meeting on Tuesday, November 30th. Markus Feldhoff delivered the report.

“The Eurocan closure, that had some serious implications as to how we do business at the hatchery. The main issues with the Eurocan closure are the lack of hot water the facility is receiving. The Eurocan facility used to provide us with up to 1,200 gallons per minute of forty degree Celsius hot water,” said Feldhoff.

He explained they have installed 5 emergency propane furnaces to heat the building. Pacific Natural gas was connecting them under the highway so they would not have to use propane any more and reduce the costs. He said the 8 degree well water was warm enough to de ice the intake screens when it was ten below.

As for growing fish, all the fish would not require water warmer then well water. However, on well water, they barley have enough to raise the fish and the hatchery does not have a back up to fall back on.

The exception was steelhead. The steelhead in warm water to raise them to smote size in a single year. In the river, it takes longer. Last year, without the hot water, they divided the fish by size, let the larger fish go and kept the smaller fish for another year. The program will be developed on a year by year basis.

At the moment, the hatchery has 1.7 million chum, 1 and a half million Chinook and 300,000 Coho. He announced there were 30,000 Steelhead left after 2009.

In addition, Assistant Manager of the Fish Hatchery, Mark Westcott after 30 years of service is retiring. Congratulations.
kitimat resident
Comment by tracey hittel on 22nd December 2010
walter you forgot to mention that the cutthroat program has now been cancelled and the steelhead program is probably next, this year we will see how the loss of warm water will affect the facilities ability to produce and release salmon and trout, so this water volume and temperature loss is a huge loss to our river and fishery.