The first of some 5,000 sockeye were released to the Coquitlam River in a special ceremony led by the Kwikwetlem First Nation on April 20, 2017. This is likely the largest release of Coquitlam sockeye in over 100 years (since sockeye passage was blocked by the construction of the Coquitlam dam) and is an important step in the sockeye restoration program. It was an especially meaningful day for the Kwikwetlem First Nation whose name translates as “red fish up the river.”
It was also the culmination of years of work including partners from Kwikwetlem First Nation, the Fish & Wildlife Restoration Program, Port Coquitlam & District Hunting and Fishing Club, Metro Vancouver, Watershed Watch Salmon Society, BC Hydro, the Province of British Columbia, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, and the Cities of Coquitlam and Port Coquitlam.
Watershed Watch has been an active participant in the Kwikwetlem Salmon Restoration Program for many years, including administering the adult trap and transport project that helps any returning adult sockeye get past the dam in the fall.
For more information on the celebration and the history of Coquitlam River sockeye, see the backgrounder, the Global News video, The Metro Vancouver video, and the following photos from yesterday’s celebration.
Global News, April 21, 2017 – First Nation works to bring dead salmon run back to life
Metro Vancouver Video about the release:
Coquitlam Dam Fish Release from Metro Vancouver on Vimeo.
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All the other cities within BC should have their own Watershed Management plans similar to the Coquitlam River Watershed Reservation so that there will one concerted effort to sustainably manage the critical habitat of the salmon vis-à-vis the other uses of the watershed.