General News · 14th December 2021
FOCI Streamkeepers Christine
How was 2021 for us? Here’s our story, directly from a chum’s perspective.
Well, for coastal rivers and creeks around Vancouver Island and the south coastal area, we have had better years. Small creeks, such as you have on Cortes, become especially important for us; they help provide a buffer when other waterways see fewer spawner returns, and they help maintain and protect our genetic diversity. You may recall that our spawning cycle usually spans 4 years, so in 2017 there were very few of us that returned to spawn in Cortes creeks.
However, Klahoose Fisheries, Fisheries & Oceans, and FOCI Streamkeepers helped us out through the generosity of the Tla’amin Hatchery near Powell River in 2017. Forty thousand of my chum sisters & brothers arrived by boat and were reared as eggs in the Klahoose hatchery over that winter and when we were fry, we were released into Basil Creek in the spring of 2018. What a good move that turned out to be because streamkeepers counted about 225 of us coming into Basil Creek this fall, all of us likely from that batch of 2017 chum eggs.
And for the first time on Cortes, 9 of my sisters and brothers were taken as brood stock in October, and their 6,000 eggs were incubated in the Klahoose Hatchery until placement in the creeks. Exciting times have just arrived on December 13 as we were joined by 55,000 chum eggs from Tla’amin. Twenty thousand of us will be incubated in Whaletown Creek, while about 22,000 will be incubated in Basil Creek and 17,000 will be raised in the Klahoose Hatchery. We're hoping for no more extreme rainfall so that we stay snuggly tucked away until we become fry in March and begin our great adventure into the creeks and then into the sea.
The other good news about us happened in Whaletown Creek where a small number of us were seen coming into the creek to spawn. We try to be secretive but a couple of us were even seen above the arch culvert, along with two of our speedy coho cousins. A few of us navigated the fast-flowing water in Hansen Creek, and in James Creek, a few of us found the new spawning gravel placed by the 2 bucket brigades this October.
So, we really appreciate the efforts by your local streamkeepers and residents who look out for us and are working to help us rebuild our spawning numbers.
Sometimes, our wild populations need a little human boost.
Determing eggs numbers by weight.
10,000 chum eggs ready for an incubation box.