BLACK PRESS FILE PHOTO Kokish River Hatchery now has an alarm system that will help protect their salmon eggs and fry.

Kokish River Hatchery gets life-saving alarm system

“If there is no oxygen everything dies.”

It’s may not be concerning if a kick in the power resets the time on a microwave, but a similar break in the power could mean life or death at a fish hatchery.

That was the problem facing the volunteers at the Kokish River Fish Hatchery. “If we get a break in the power it kicks the pump off in the hatchery and if there are no pumps running there is no oxygen and everything dies,” explained the Kokish River Fish Hatchery’s, Rob Engel.

“If a raven lands on a line, it doesn’t kick the power out to everyone but it kicks it out to the hatchery,” said Engel, adding “We have got three hours at best to get down to the hatchery and restart the pumps and get oxygen flowing again.”

Now the volunteers can have some peace of mind, after they recieved a brand new alarm system that will alert them if something goes wrong.

Marine Harvest donated the cost of putting in an alarm system that immediately sends out eight phone calls if there is an interruption in power that causes that turns the pumps off dropping the oxygen levels.

Once someone answers the call and is notified of the power break, they simply press star 11 and the alarm stops the automatic calling. That individual can then get to the hatchery to reset the breaker and make sure everything is up and running again.

RELATED: Kokish River Hatchery gets $10,000 donation

Currently, the KoKish River Hatchery had 150,000 eggs that were set to hatch and turn into fry, so Engel noted the donation couldn’t have come at a better time.

“We had an incident about two years ago, where we had 100,000 baby coho in the tanks and the power kicked out and no one knew and we lost about half of them – that’s 50,000 fish,” said Engel, adding “We had a lot of volunteers that were crying, upset, and disappointed about it.”

The alarm system was installed in early November, at cost by K&K Electric. “That was really appreciated, there is not a lot of money to run hatcheries and we run mostly on donations and volunteers,” said Engel.

“We direct some of our community investment dollars every year to salmon conservation projects along the coast. We know that is a priority for our communities, and we want to support the hard work of dedicated volunteers,” said Juan Carlos Sanchez Millar, Freshwater Production Manager at Marine Harvest.

“We operate under similar conditions and there is a lot of crossover in what we do, so sharing knowledge and supporting each other is important,” said Millar, adding “We know very well that these types of investments are critical when you are taking care of growing fish.”

The Kokish River Hatchery is a Department of Fisheries and Oceans licensed facility that is operated by the Port McNeill Chinook Club and is dedicated to salmon enhancement in the Kokish River and is operated entirely by a dedicated group of volunteers.

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