Mowi Supports Fanny Bay Salmon Enhancement Work
Fanny Bay Salmonid Enhancement Society (FBSES) oversees activities in 26 watersheds from Union Bay to Deep Bay, performing responsibility with 60 volunteers.
Mowi Canada West is one of the companies that provides material and technical support for the organization, started by Jim Ackinclose and four of his friends in 1994, maintaining a very small upwelling hatchbox on Wilfred Creek, incubating one million pink eggs.
With this initiative up and running, the group decided to expand their operation and sphere of influence, adding more volunteers and taking on an environmental oversight role with the construction of the new Inland Highway, which was a monumental task.
“My husband passed away in 1995, but the volunteers quickly regrouped and I became involved,” recalls Jim’s wife Judy Ackinclose. “The Wilfred Hatchery, which is on Mosaic Logging property, has expanded its role as a satellite hatchery and is now working with pink, coho and chum.
“Our main hatchery, which commenced operating in 1997, is on a DFO site which houses Rosewall Hatchery, and here we work with chum and coho. I became president of the Society in 2004.”
Judy states that 100 percent of the coho production at the Rosewall site is marked with an adipose fin clip.
“This is quite an undertaking when one considers major facilities operated by DFO only clip a small percentage of their coho production,” she says. “The salient point here and why this is especially important is that, in order to meet escapement goals in some conservation units, First Nation, commercial and recreational harvesters may only retain marked coho of hatchery origin.”
Another activity FBSES has undertaken is the operation and maintenance of downstream smolt fences on three watersheds, thus providing important population production data to the Stock Assessment Division of DFO. Complementing this downstream data, the Society funds Fall escapement counts where technicians walk and swim streams and physically count returning salmon.
“We are strong proponents of gathering such data and consequently believe that this is a positive means of determining the effectiveness of our efforts,” she states.
Ackinclose says unfortunately, many of the watersheds they work in have sustained considerable damage from past logging practices, with the result that many of them do not flow continuously during the summer.
“To mitigate some of this damage, our volunteers salvage stranded fish in affected streams, transferring them to our hatchery where we will over-summer them until fall rains return flows to the extent that these fry can be released to their natal streams,” she states. “Incredibly, since the middle 1990’s, our volunteers have saved a whopping 546,679 wild coho from a certain death.”
Over the past 12 years FBSES has hosted ‘The River Never Sleeps’, a free festival at Rosewall Hatchery in early May.
“Many like-minded groups from all over the island have attended this gala to promote their groups’ activities in the ways of conservation in their areas,” she says. “Last year we enjoyed an attendance of close to 700 people at the family friendly celebration, providing an opportunity to meet people from all walks of life.”
FBSES also maintains a coniferous tree nursery where they raise seedlings from donated plugs to two and three year old trees. The young evergreens are then donated back to many non-profit groups involved in different aspects of habitat restoration.
“We have been performing this function for 20 years, and normally provide over 2,000 trees annually to groups all over the island,” she adds.