The hatchery is named after Mrs.Marion Baker, a long time club member, who dedicated many years of her life to this project. It was built in the 1980’s by PQFG members voluntary labour, with major funding coming from the Salmonid Enhancement Program of the Federal Fisheries Department.
Today it is an important part of the overall British Columbia Salmon Enhancement program. For about 30 years, it has been operated 100% by volunteer club members.
The pictures below show briefly the steps through the hatchery which a new salmon must take. What they don’t show is the huge amount of work and dedication needed from our all volunteer members.
These pictures show the capture of returning salmon and the stripping of eggs which will be transported to the hatchery. This is the first phase of all hatchery operations,and takes place in the fall.
After the eggs are stripped from the salmon they are fertilized and transferred to incubation trays where they are left for some months. They are moved to larger trays as they develop from the egg stage through to small finger size fish. Through all this time they are monitored constantly as any change in temperature or oxygen can be fatal. Members are on call 24 hours a day to resolve emergencies. On the right are tubes showing the stages of development from egg to fingerling.
Before the salmon can be released into the wild, each one must have it’s adipose fin removed. This is to distinguish returning hatchery fish from salmon that were hatched in the wild and enables Fisheries personnel to get a better feel for the health of the wild fishery. The young fish are mildly sedated and members spend a day in the sun clipping off the fins.
In late Spring, the now fingerling sized young salmon are ready to be released into the wild. Here the club members get their reward as they watch the young fish swim out of the buckets into their new home. This is the head of French Creek, the same stream from which their parents were captured many months ago. This is not the end of the work however as often the fish will need additional feeding until they can survive alone.
As part of its commitment to education in its fields of interest, PQFG members are available for the following;
- To conduct groups through the hatchery to explain the operation.
- To make classroom visits with a presentation on the salmon life cycle.
- To supply classroom aquariums with hatching salmon so that children may watch them develop until time for release. The picture shows eggs being counted for delivery to a school aquarium.