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Watching the fry swim away.
General News · 23rd April 2020
A happy story for 99 coho fry has been quietly unfolding during these pandemic weeks of global strife. In January, approximately 100 fertilized coho eggs were delivered to the Cortes School as part of a federal educational & stewardship programme between Fisheries & Oceans and schools.

The excitement of the students was palpable and their immediate engagement with the fry is always remarkable as the students watch the eggs hatch into alevin, and then become fry. The exceptional programme offers a tangible, hands-on opportunity to observe a life cycle through several stages and connects children to a keystone species of the BC coast, the Pacific salmon.

Just before spring break happened in mid-March, the funny-looking, awkward alevin hatched into tiny fry. But there was no return to school for students once spring break was over. When the primary teachers contacted their students after spring break, the common question from the children was, “How are the fry doing? Are they lonely? Who is feeding them?”

Well, the core staff at the Cortes School have been amazing!! They are the heroes in this Covid-19 story, especially Janet Gazdik, Janet Forsyth and Brent Wilken, who faithfully fed the swim-up fry during spring break and in the weeks that followed, and reported back to Cortes Streamkeepers. Thank you, also, to the sponsoring teachers, Chris Duketow, Dayna Davis and Kim Paulley for facilitating their students’ participation in this great opportunity, and to Derek Armitage for the tank set-up & clean-up.

This chapter of the fry’s story was successfully concluded on April 17 when the fry were released into the upper reaches of Hansen Creek. Two families participated in the release and managed to maintain at least 20 feet apart by releasing into 2 different places in the creek.

The fry were serenaded onto the next phase of their one-year adventure in the creek, before they will make their way to the sea as one-year old smolts.
“The river is flowing, flowing and growing. The river is flowing down to the sea.
Mother carry me, your child I will always be. Mother carry me down to the sea!”

A very special thank-you to all the students at the Cortes School for their enthusiasm and stewarding of the little salmonids, as we wish the fry safe journeying out to sea and back to Cortes.
How many did we count?
How many did we count?
Freedom at Last.
Freedom at Last.