There were fry and arts and crafts fish, fish barbeque and fish surgery, and more than that at the Quatse Salmon Stewardship Centre last weekend.
Dozens of people went to the Centre Sunday, Sept. 27, which is also a hatchery, for World Rivers Day, and there was a lot to learn and see and taste.
There was a traditional Sockeye barbecue, explained Kaleb Child, the director of instruction of First Nations programs, who came out to teach kids and adults alike about what salmon, and the rivers they swim in, mean to local First Nations.
“Rivers were the epicentre. the super highway,” he explained. “Philosophically, that’s why I come.”
The hatchery raises about 20,000 Chum salmon, 90,000 Coho salmon, and two million Pink salmon each year, which are released into the wild to boost wild stocks.
Attendees were given a tour of the work that makes that happen.
They got a chance to see everything from fertilizing the fish to clipping one of their fins before they are set loose.
Workers use tiny scissors to clip the adipose fin, a fleshy fin on top of the fish towards its tail.
They clip the fish to mark the fact that they were born in a hatchery, and they clip that fin because the fish don’t use it to swim.
“I love doing what we do,” said Steve Lacasse, the chairman of the operation, but “ultimately our goal is to shut this place down. That would mean that there were enough fish to not need the Centre’s intervention.
Its budget is between $350,000 and $400,000, Lacasse estimated.
But in the meanwhile, the Centre does double duty educating people. “Just like that,” he said, hearing a little kid laugh. “You can’t put a number on that.”