What do young salmon eat? Is there enough food for them when they leave the rivers and streams and enter the ocean? In 2006, Dave Ewart of the Campbell River-based Quinsam Hatchery approached the BC Centre for Aquatic Health Sciences (BC-CAHS) with these two key questions. Knowing the answers would allow hatchery staff to release coho when food was readily available thereby greatly increasing their chances for survival and returning to local waters.
Thanks to two years of generous financial contribution totaling $25,000 from the Campbell River Salmon Foundation, the Discovery Passage Plankton Monitoring and Juvenile Salmon Assessment project was able to complete its work of ground-breaking research and field work in conjunction with local Fisheries and Oceans staff, and the Atlegay Fisheries Society.
In 2009, the third year of the project, funding was reduced, putting the research in jeopardy. The Campbell River Salmon Foundation, concerned about the survival of local wild salmon stocks, was one of the local groups that stepped up and provided the funding necessary to see the project to a successful end. The next steps will include further data compilation, the first steps towards publishing the results.
BC-CAHS is an independent Campbell River-based not‐for‐profit society started in 2005. The staff of ten conducts research and provides services relating to aquatic health issues of both cultured and wild marine species. The fully equipped and state of the art laboratory facility supports this crucial work.
For more information, visit the BC-CAHS website: www.cahs-bc.ca.
An example of what juvenile coho eat taken from Discovery Passage (photo courtesy of BC-CAHS).