A farmed Atlantic salmon, one of several caught off of French Creek within the past several days, has been frozen and will be delivered to Fisheries and Oceans Canada for examination. — J.R. Rardon photo

Atlantic salmon caught in Sto:lo net on the Fraser River near Chilliwack

Whether or not spilled Atlantics will hurt Fraser wild salmon is unknown, says FN advisor

At least three Atlantic salmon showed up last weekend in Aboriginal nets along the Fraser River —including one near Chilliwack.

It’s setting off alarms because it’s exceedingly rare, said Cheam Chief Ernie Crey, a director with the Fraser Valley Aboriginal Fisheries Society (FVAFS).

The Atlantic salmon were noted by catch monitors at: Shxwhá:y Village in Chilliwack, Yale First Nation, and Katzie First Nation, near Pitt Meadows.

“We count and monitor and certify the Aboriginal catch, and turn that data over to DFO.

“Recently we found out that three Atlantic salmon had been reported,” said Crey, talking about the work of the FVAFS.

How rare is it? The last time he remembers was in the late 1990s.

These rogue fish could be from the large escapement of farmed Atlantic reported last month, from a breached fish farm owned by Cooke Aquaculture in Washington State. DFO has had dozens of reports in recent weeks from various parts of the province.

READ MORE: Accidental escape at fish farm

“They are obviously roaming,” Crey said.

It that doesn’t mean there are not many more, if that’s the case. Thousands escaped and it was blamed on high tides causing a structural break.

“It worries us although we don’t know if the worry is with foundation. And whether it will result in harmful effects on migrating salmon, I don’t know,” Chief Crey said. “To us they are an unknown entity.”

DFO is asking anyone who catches a farmed salmon to report it to the Atlantic Salmon Watch program at 1-800-811-6010. One distinguishing feature is black spots on the gill cover.

READ: High tides were to blame in part

B.C. Agriculture Minister Lana Popham said after the spill it wasn’t immediately clear what impact the release could possibly have, but that the government was committed to looking at the possibility of land-based containment of aquaculture pens.

The Progress contacted Fisheries and Ocean Canada to get an idea of how many Atlantic salmon had been reported in the Fraser system after these certified catches connected with Aboriginal fisheries, but no answer was available in a timely fashion. Instead a media teleconference was set for Friday with DFO’s Atlantic Salmon Watch official, so stay tuned at www.theprogress.com for updates.


 

@chwkjourno
jfeinberg@theprogress.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

How to identify an Atlantic salmon, from Fisheries and Oceans Canada website.

Just Posted

Sunny day crash hampers traffic on Blanshard in Saanich

Lanes closed Monday afternoon as one person taken to hospital

Man arrested after speeding to Victoria court date for driving offence

West Shore RCMP remind drivers to be mindful of construction zones

Victoria police seek suspects in series of bear spray attacks

Police responded to several calls Saturday evening

Thief steals ice cream bars from Oak Bay Dairy Queen

Oak Bay resident out nearly $10,000 as CRA scam strikes again

Proposed Sidney cannabis store wins favour with public, businesses

Of 348 received submissions, 311 favour cannabis store proposed for 2400-block of Beacon Avenue

No safe mask option for bearded members, RCMP says, but force is exploring solutions

RCMP says respirator not mandatory in all front-line situations, but sometimes needed to reduce risk

B.C. VOTES 2020: Echoes of HST in B.C. debate over sales tax

Cannabis, tobacco, luxury cars still taxed in B.C. Liberal plan

She warned her son about toxic drugs, then he was dead

Donna Bridgman’s son died at the age of 38 in Vancouver

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Duration of Tour de Rock stop in Chemainus much shorter than usual

Four alumni riders don’t get to come for breakfast in COVID year

B.C. food and beverage producers set record sales in 2019

Farmed salmon again leads international exports

Police seek help in naming Cowichan farm stand theft suspect

Video captured man prying cash box out stand on Norcross Road

Pedestrian dies in motor vehicle incident along the highway near Nanaimo Airport

Police investigating scene where 37-year-old woman from Nanaimo died

Most Read