In my recent Letter, “Looking to our mayor as chief,” my hope that he takes measures to ensure the protection of salmon in Skaha Lake may have gone over many heads. What does that mean?
It means that the development and industry of salmon were at great risk of decline and will be if care is not taken to protect this investment here in Penticton.
Millions of dollars have been invested to restore salmon to this area. The reintroduction program to restore and return sockeye to their historic range in the Okanagan was led by the Okanagan Nation Alliance (ONA) in partnership with Canada’s Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO), the British Columbia Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations (BC-FLNRO), with funding from the Grant and Chelan County Public Utilities in the U.S.
The fish hatchery, just across the channel, represents a critical stage of our nation’s restoration initiation and is part of a long-term program to restore the historical range of sockeye in the upper Okanagan watershed, Okanagan and Skaha Lake systems, and a region of the Columbia River basin.
Opened in 2014, the 25,000 square foot hatchery has the capacity to rear eight million eggs. It is currently equipped to handle all fish culture aspects required for five million eggs from broodstock management until fry release. The release of developing Salmon ends up in Skaha Lake.
To learn more, visit the hatchery. Tours are offered all year long by contacting 250-707-0095 for appointment times.