In October of 2007, the Nechako White Sturgeon Recovery Initiative (NWSRI) celebrated its second annual Save Our Sturgeon Festival with the help of 1,000 local schoolchildren. Kids from School District 91 each released a 4 month old juvenile white sturgeon into the Nechako River as part of its continuing effort to help restore endangered white sturgeon stocks in the Northern British Columbia river.
The event was also highlighted by the “release” of a new white sturgeon stamp from Canada Post. “This project started with ‘Stuart’, a single hatchery-raised sturgeon we released two years ago and now we are releasing several thousand new sturgeon a year into the Nechako River,” said Environment Minister Barry Penner. “It is only fitting that Canada Post chose to mark this year’s event by ‘releasing’ a commemorative stamp which will further help raise awareness about these important fish.”
Using eggs harvested from adult white sturgeon captured on the Nechako in May, 2007, the program has raised 3,000 juvenile white sturgeon this year that will be released back into the Nechako by the end of October. All released fish will be marked and some will carry special radio tracking tags.
“Over the last two years, Mother Nature has fought us by producing the highest and lowest water levels the Nechako has seen in half a century”, said Brian Frenkel, the District of Vanderhoof’s representative on the NWSRI. “But we’re sticking with it and today’s sturgeon release proves that by working together, we can ensure that the white sturgeon are around for decades to come”
The partners involved in the NWSRI include the Ministry of Environment, the District of Vanderhoof, the Freshwater Fisheries Society of B.C., the Carrier Sekani Tribal Council and Alcan Primary Metal.
Special thanks once again to The District of Vanderhoof, the Freshwater Fisheries Society, Avison Ltd., Alcan Primary, Erin Kearns, Kathi Zimmerman, Christina Ciesielki and all the numerous volunteers for their help with the juvenile release.
Christina Ciesielki from the CSTC discussing sturgeon biology with local school kids.
Christina Ciesielki and Kathi Zimmerman answer questions about the NWSRI program.
Ray Billings from FFSBC explains how juvenile sturgeon are raised in the pilot conservation facility.
Checking out the tubs where the young fish are raised.
Minister of the Environment Barry Penner, Vanderhoof Mayor Len Fox, Canada Post representative Ken Buker and MLA John Rustad in front of the newly unveiled White Sturgeon stamp.
Volunteers help kids scan their fish and record the unique PIT tag number.
Minister Barry Penner has his fish scanned.
Mike Keehn from FFSBC carefully transfers fish into a large bucket for the release.
One happy kid releasing his sturgeon into the Nechako River!
NWSRI volunteer instructing a youngster on how to handle her fish.
The little guy up close!
and finally this year's spectacular 6 foot long sturgeon cake!