Efforts to mitigate the damage done to the fish population by the Big Bar Landslide are continuing with the release of more fry.
60,800 Early Stuart sockeye fry have been released into the rivers near the site. Biological Programs Manager Michael Crowe says the sockeye was one of the hardest-hit fish populations in the area.
“The population was already considered to be endangered,” Crowe says, “Because of their very unique timing, they’re the first sockeye to enter the river, they come in at almost the peak of flow, so they have some of the harshest, hardest water conditions to try to migrate through.”
In the past two years, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans reported that less than one percent of the Early Stuart sockeye that had entered the Fraser River from the Pacific Ocean reached the Stuart River watershed to spawn.
Crowe says they have one more group of Early Stuart sockeye left in the hatchery to be released in the fall this year.
“We’re raising them to a little larger size, and we’ll release them in the fall,” Crowe explains, “We call that a par release, it’s the stage between a fry and a smolt.”
Recently, over 101,000 Upper Fraser Salmon were released in the area as well.
Crowe says this is being done in partnership with the Takla, Nak’azdli, Tl’azt’en, and the Carrier Sekani First Nations, as well as the Upper Fraser Fisheries Conservation Alliance.