REPORTING · 16th December 2012
Marcus Feldhoff gave a report to Sport Fishermen Advisory Board (SFAB) on Tuesday, November 27th on the Kitimat Fish Hatchery Operations for 2012.
He expressed this was the first year they have not managed to hit their Chinook target. Their target is 2.3 million eggs and they achieved less than 1 million. This issue is not a local one as the Chinook population was down this year along the coast. The fishery was shut down in the Kenai River, Alaska.
They had their second good year in a row for Chum Salmon. They showed up earlier than normal. He expected to see there number drop as they used to release 4 million fish, but now, the number has dropped below 2,000,000.
Coho was a good run. Coho are raised in the school system and are released in pine creek as a part of an educational program.
The hatchery met their target on Steelhead. Feldhoff stated since the closure of Eurocan, the smolts are raised over two years because they cannot heat the water to the level where they can raise the fish over one. They expect to see the first hatchery returns from the program in 2014 from this program. He suspects they might see a few in 2013, but these will be smaller.
There were a lot of questions about the steelhead. For now, the program is going to keep going. Buying a heater to heat the water to raise the steelhead faster is an additional expense.
Cutthroat Trout are no longer raised at the Hatchery since the Eurocan Closure. They would also have to be raised for two years and there is no room in the hatchery for them.
Feldhoff reported staffing is still a problem as there has been a hiring freeze in the Province and three years of layoffs. The Habitat program was cut and 90 biologists were laid off. He added there are changes to the fisheries act which will affect habitat.
They used to be at 8 full time permanent staff at the Hatchery and now they are down to 3 full time permanent staff members. There are rumblings of more layoffs to come.