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General News · 15th December 2022
FOCI Streamkeepers - Christine
Fifty thousand shiny, pink chum eggs were hand-delivered to Cortes on December 14. They are about 3 weeks old and when one looks closely, you can see their eyes forming, 2 tiny, delicate black dots. Byron Harry, the Klahoose Fisheries Officer, picked them up in the Klahoose fisheries boat from Okeover Inlet where they were delivered from the Tla’amin Hatchery near Powell River.

The chum eggs were dispersed to 3 locations – 15,000 in the Klahoose Hatchery, 15,000 in an incubation box in Basil Creek, and 20,000 in an incubation box in Whaletown Creek. This salmon enhancement project happens because of the involvement and support by the Klahoose and Tla’amin Nations, in collaboration with Fisheries & Oceans and FOCI Streamkeepers. Klahoose and streamkeepers will share the monitoring and care for the eggs as they hatch into alevein and then fry over the winter months.

As an update to the fall spawning season, the mystery remains as to what happened to the chum that were expected to return to Cortes creeks. There is diminishing hope that they are very late and may still show up in the next week or so. However, to date, streamkeepers observed the lowest numbers noted in recent history with counts of ten fish in Basil & Hansen Creeks and 15 in James Creek. This disturbing phenomena occurred in many coastal creeks with chum, while other species fared better.

The question remains – did the chum relocate, or were they heavily predated on by seals and sea lions while waiting to enter creeks, or did they not show up in any significant numbers? There were observations of seal and sea lion activity along the Cortes shoreline, but this did not appear to be excessive. The creeks were at historic low water levels in October, and the few chum that made it into the creek mouths were predated on by otters.

Therefore, a huge gratitude is extended to the Klahoose and Tla’amin as all parties work together to continue building chum numbers in Cortes creeks.