Over the summer of 2006, 5,000 juvenile sturgeon were raised in a pilot hatchery in Riverside Park, Vanderhoof. On October 3rd and 4th, 1,000 schoolchildren from School District 91 each released a 4 month old juvenile sturgeon into the Nechako River. The students were able to name their fish and also record a unique PIT tag number (this is a small tag inserted below the fish's skin with an identification number that can be scanned), so that they will be able to know if their fish is recaptured by NWSRI researchers in the future.
Students and teachers also had the opportunity to talk to members of the Community Working Group and ask lots of good questions. They also visited the pilot hatchery to see how their fish were raised.
On the 3rd, there was a special release celebration, complete with welcoming remarks from John Rustad (MLA - Prince George/Omineca), Len Fox (Mayor of Vanderhoof) and Don Peterson (president of the Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC). Another special cake made by Woody's Bakery was served as well.
Although it was a bit foggy and chilly in the morning, the weather fully cooperated and we experienced two beautiful days. Students, teachers and volunteers all had a great time, and we hope to be able to repeat an event like this in the future.
Special thanks to The District of Vanderhoof, the Freshwater Fisheries Society, Avison, Alcan, Erin Kearns and all the numerous volunteers for their help with the juvenile release.
Councellor and CWG member Brian Frenkel talking about sturgeon and the NWSRI to students - as you can see, it was a little foggy in the morning, but the afternoon was lovely!
Ray Billings from the FFSBC giving a tour of the pilot hatchery. Inside the hatchery, 2 tanks with juvenile sturgeon were on display so everyone could get a good look.
Students lined up at one of the three tables to have their fish scanned for its individual PIT tag number. This was recorded along with the students name and school. Students kept a separate sheet with the PIT tag number as well as the name of their sturgeon.
Students releasing their fish into the Nechako River with the help of volunteers, including Henry Klassen, one of the NWSRI's Community Working Group members.
Getting an up close view!
John Rustad, MLA, Mayor Len Fox and FFSBC President Don Peterson welcoming everyone to the release celebration.
...and this year's sturgeon cake!