North Vancouver, B.C. – Salmon hatcheries and spawning channels in B.C. are on the receiving end of a sizable funding boost.
Those hatcheries and spawning channels, which are operated by the federal government under the Salmonid Enhancement Program (SEP), will see $34.2 million over five years.
The funding includes $13.8 million to refurbish crucial water supply and delivery systems at all 16 major salmon hatcheries and many spawning channels.
Another $20.4 million will go toward modernizing and refurbishing aging infrastructure at Bella Coola’s Snootli Creek Hatchery, which serves the B.C. Central Coast.
The investments will renew infrastructure, which in many cases is 30 years old. It will also improve efficiency of the facilities, their operational reliability and flexibility, and reduce maintenance costs. A reliable supply of high-quality water is a critical element to the successful production of salmon at hatcheries and spawning channels.
The investment, says the federal government, is part of an ongoing effort to reinvest n the 36-year-old SEP. A $14-million renovation of the Quinsam River Hatchery in Campbell River was completed in 2014 and other hatcheries will be upgraded according to priority.
Just the facts
• The federal government’s SEP operates 23 salmon hatcheries and spawning channels, which release hundreds of millions of juvenile salmon every year to supplement wild stocks and sustain B.C. fisheries.
• Salmon hatcheries play a key role in SEP’s efforts to conserve weak salmon stocks; provide recreational, commercial and Aboriginal fishing opportunities; and support stock assessment.
• Hatcheries and spawning channels provide increased fishing opportunities and comprise an estimated 10-20 per cent of all salmon harvested in B.C.
• SEP contributes approximately $90 million of direct and indirect economic benefits and 1,592 person-years of employment annually to Canada’s economy, according to BCStats, Ministry of Citizen Services.