The Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC (FFSBC) is an independent, non-profit society dedicated to the conservation and enhancement of BC’s freshwater fisheries resources. The FFSBC owns five major fish hatcheries located throughout the province of BC as well as nine trout and char egg collection stations. Together these hatcheries stock about 800 individual water bodies each year to support recreational fishing. In BC these stocking programs support about 60% of all freshwater fishing activity.
Accordingly, the FFSBC is keen on adopting culture techniques that augment and expand their production capabilities. This includes hatchery equipment and techniques employed by other agencies including BC’s aquaculture industry. Who better to consult than Marine Harvest, a world leader in salmon production. The FFSBC connected with Marine Harvest to address two key issues in their fish culture operations: large format egg incubation and feeding large-volume rearing ponds.The FFSBC was looking at mass post-eyed incubation of select strains of rainbow trout. Marine Harvest Canada kindly donated Combi tank units to the Clearwater Trout Hatchery located in Clearwater and the Fraser Valley Trout Hatchery located in Abbotsford. Clearwater Hatchery Manager, Ken Scheer, noted that “The Combi tanks afford us the flexibility to investigate additional incubation methods for the various strains of rainbow trout raised by the Society”. Both hatcheries have now installed these tanks and are presently assessing them as a means to improve incubation and early fry rearing success for their particular strains of rainbow trout.
Catchable rainbow trout are reared at the FFSBC’s Skaha Pond facility located near Penticton for stocking into urban and high use fisheries as well as for a very successful ‘Learn to Fish’ program. An automatic feeder was required to help reduce time spent feeding this ever-hungry Fraser Valley rainbow strain so sought after by family anglers. When the Hatchery Manager brought the challenge of feeding a large-volume rearing pond forward, who else to contact than Marine Harvest Canada? Graham Bull of Marine Harvest’s Victoria Lake station came up with a solution. Graham, himself an avid angler, supplied the society with two automatic feeders formerly used at Marine Harvest’s Victoria Lake site. They are ideal feeders for the job. Summerland Trout Hatchery Manager Mark Siemens notes that “The automatic feeders give us the opportunity to continue top level care to optimize growth and conversion of the catchable trout prior to their release into the recreational fishery; it’s a real time and money-saver.”
The FFSBC is grateful for the donation of hatchery equipment from Marine Harvest Canada. Ray Billings, Vice President of Operations, states “We are very pleased to work cooperatively with Marine Harvest Canada and appreciate their contribution of equipment to help improve our program. Marine Harvest Canada’s generosity will contribute to successful lake stocking programs and happy anglers throughout BC. Thank you MHC!”
Jim Powell, FFSBC