Stream Keepers – Sept 2012

August has been a very dry month for our stream, which has meant we have had to do lots of fry salvage as streams dry and flows go subsurface. We even went up to upper Knarston to rescue some trout trapped in drying pools and relocated them to wetted habitat. Our main focus, as in other years, is Bonnel Creek at the head of the bay. This year it was slower drying up than before, but once the hot weather hit it went subsurface really quick. Around 10,000 Wild Coho fry have been rescued so far and transported to year round habitat in Swan Lake and Kidney Lake keeping the fish within their own watersheds. We have had lots of volunteers this year with the core group of guys showing them how best to handle the fry without loss of life. The young folk are very focused when they start catching the fry with laughs and “ooh’s” and “ah’s” though one adult did outshine them the two times she has joined her husband doing fry salvage with hoots and giggling, she had never caught a fish before and her first reaction to the first fish she caught was hilarious to hear and when she caught half a dozen at once she just about lost it, so as you can see we have lots of fun. More sad news on the wild fish survival. With all the news about how much disease has been running unchecked through the fish farming industry after years of outright denial by the corporations claiming no such thing could happen in BC waters – even though every country in the world where they have persuaded governments to allow them to operate have in the past experienced- what we are seeing happening on our coast this past year and especially the past few months. What is more scary for those unsuspecting consumers who believe that the corporations would not do any thing to jeopardize their health for profit comes the recent news that even so called healthy fish sent to the store have been found to be infected with all the fish viruses that were denied by the corporations along with some strange flesh dissolving virus. [Google Alexandra Morton] What has all that got to do with our wild fish you may ask? Well for a start, yes, our wild fish do carry some of the same viruses, but are immune to their effects as adults. But the scary part is that our juvenile wild salmon pick up the viruses before they reach adulthood along with unusual amounts of sea lice on their way past theses salmon farms as they out migrate from the streams. Then they carry the diseases out into the open oceans spreading them as they go. It is still unknown or at least to the general public to what extent this effect has on the rest of the wild salmons life cycle. After a few years of complete exploitation gone are our once mighty forests with only fibre farms remaining logged on a 20 to 30 year cycle. Never again will we see trees allowed to grow to hundreds of years of age or our watersheds return to their once self regulating systems able to support the once mighty runs of wild salmon. Over fishing also has not helped, but we built hatcheries to mitigate that issue and to mitigate the loss of habitat to the over logging. Today we have very few fish returning to the coast, [even the hatcheries have low returns - read genetic defects], over half the fishing fleet is gone with the remaining few boats barely able to scrape a living from what fishing opportunities are left to them. With every fish we save we feel we are doing what we can to preserve the wild genetic stock for the future in face of what all our so-called government managers and biologists have been trying to do in the so called management of our collective resources. Hopefully we or our kids or grandkids may see a BC coast producing once again the mighty runs of the past along with a vibrant ecosystem to support them in their struggle for survival.

Posted in Featured, September 2012, Slideshow, Streamkeepers

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