Hatchery programs are absolutely vital for all species of salmon. Today 1 in 4 Chinook salmon is the result of a hatchery program. Think about that, 1 in 4 Chinooks that are caught recreationally, commercially, First Nations food and those that return to spawn is a hatchery salmon. Without these programs the species would not survive.
Every salmon on the Pacific Coast attempts to return to the river system it was born in. If it makes it back to spawn it dies shortly after, they don’t get to leave and come back again. There are many factors that impact the survival of those eggs to become baby salmon from high water, low water, and natural predators like other fish, birds and bears. What a hatchery program does is guarantee the survival from egg to salmon of a significant number of fish.
The Percy Walkus Hatchery was built in 2016 and is an incredible success story. It was built right in the Wuikinuxv Nation on the famous Wannock River.
Thirty years ago there was a hatchery in the Village and it was managed by Percy Walkus, a hereditary chief of the Wuikinuxv. It was managed by Percy and the Nation but funded by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. Sadly, as often happens with our governments, a budget cut back came and the hatchery lost its funding and was shut down. It was a huge loss to our salmon and a bigger loss to the Nations people who took great pride in it and preserving the salmon stocks.
Currently our hatchery supports three iconic Rivers Inlet species of Chinooks. The world famous Wannock, which along with the Kalum River in Terrace, are the only two systems left that are statistically significant for the production of the Tyee Chinook salmon. 90% of all Chinooks 40 lbs or larger come from these two systems today. We also support the Chuckwalla and Kilbella Rivers. We proudly release 300,000 Wannocks and 50,000 Chuckwalla and Kilbella babies every year.
Our little hatchery is the model for what is possible when we work together. First Nations, Recreational Anglers, Science and other concerned groups coming together and working to deliver a solution. Oh and we don’t need to worry about a government budget ever shutting our hatchery down again. We built and run it with private money.
Duncanby is very proud to be a part of the team along with Good Hope Cannery,Wuikinuxv Nation, Rick Hansen Foundation, Pacific Salmon Foundation, our great friends at Snootli Hatchery and our growing list of supporters.
Life is Good