The Cowichan Lake Salmonid Enhancement Society is out of fish, thanks to the efforts of many dedicated environmentalists.
On Wednesday, June 15, society members released the last of their approximately 29,900 coho fry into local streams that run into the Cowichan Lake and River. Wednesday’s distribution of fish took care of the 20,000 that remained after previous efforts.
Wednesday’s distribution of fish didn’t come without its barriers, though.
The first barrier came about as a result of Columbia Fuels’ backing out of a verbal agreement to provide the society with a truck.
The society had been provided with a temporary truck for about five days, until Columbia Fuels took it back.
“If we’d have had it in writing, we would have it,” society president Bob Crandall said.
On the bright side, Columbia Fuels employees out of Victoria have offered their time to help out, to make up for the reversal of the company’s decision.
In order to make up for their lack of truck, Wednesday’s distribution of fish had Department of Fisheries and Oceans community advisor Erika Blake drive to Cowichan Lake in her truck to assist.
The second barrier came about when it was discovered that the society’s tank had a leak in it.
Overcoming this second barrier, Garry Rowand and Sam George from the Cowichan Tribes’ Cowichan River Fish Hatchery drove out to Cowichan Lake, with a new tank.
The hatchery’s remaining 20,000 coho fry were then distributed into a couple different Cowichan watershed streams.
This distribution of coho fry comes just over a month after the society supplied 37,000 chum fry into local streams.
Next up for the society will be the fry salvage program, wherein trapped fish are netted and taken out of drying up creek beds and put into the Cowichan Lake and River.
This will be followed by the brood stock program, wherein local fisherman catch chum and coho, with society members then taking the fish and extracting their eggs and milt, fertilizing, incubating, and feeding the fry until they can be released.
This year’s goal will be 400,000 chum and 25,000 coho.