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News from Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Pacific region. The Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, and Member of Parliament Jati Sidhu (Mission - Matsqui - Fraser Canyon) were at Chehalis River Hatchery and Inch Creek Hatchery to tour the salmon production facilities and meet with hatchery staff.

The Chehalis River Hatchery produces Coho, Chinook, Chum and Pink salmon, as well as Steelhead and sea-going Cutthroat Trout. Enhancement of these stocks contributes to significant sport, commercial and First Nations fisheries, both locally and up the British Columbia coast. The hatchery works in partnership with the Sts’ailes First Nation and the Freshwater Fisheries Society of B.C. on various projects. Chehalis hatchery efforts include contribution to science and stock assessment efforts for the Harrison River Chinook, which along with other efforts is key to the implementation of the Pacific Salmon Treaty with the United States.

The Inch Creek Hatchery produces Coho, Sockeye, Chum and Steelhead for a number of local tributaries that lead to the Fraser River. Salmon fry from the facility are released into their streams of origin, such as the Pitt and Stave rivers. Cultus Lake Sockeye salmon are also enhanced at Inch Creek Hatchery (Inch Sockeye Satellite), also supporting Marine Stewardship Council fishery certification to enable international market access for the Fraser Sockeye fishery.

The production work at these facilities, including the nearby Chilliwack River Hatchery, contributes to the overall enhancement of salmon stocks, including Chinook salmon, the preferred prey of the endangered Southern Resident Killer Whale. DFO’s Salmonid Enhancement Program has also contributed to major habitat restoration and community stewardship efforts in these and other watersheds across the Fraser basin. Chinook populations in some southern B.C. rivers are in the midst of a steep decline, and are being increasingly affected by low return to their spawning grounds, reduced survival and productivity, habitat pressures and a changing climate. DFO’s Salmonid Enhancement Program is an important tool in our efforts to rebuild Chinook populations.

New and enhanced Government of Canada measures announced last fall to help the survival or recovery of Southern Resident Killer Whales included the introduction of important measures aimed at protecting and recovering Chinook salmon stocks that are significant for this iconic species.

As part of these measures, an additional $2.53 million over five years will be used to increase juvenile Chinook production from Chilliwack hatchery. These Chinook were identified as a key Canadian salmon stock available for extended periods as prey for Southern Resident Killer Whales.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada is also using our $75 million Coastal Restoration Fund to invest in the preservation, protection and restoration of Canada’s coastal areas, including in B.C., where we have contributed $18.5 million to 12 projects that are underway across the province to rehabilitate marine ecosystems that support key Chinook stocks.

This past fall we announced the creation of a new BC Salmon Restoration and Innovation Fund—modelled in part on the successful Atlantic Fisheries Fund—which is cost-shared with the British Columbia government. As part of this fund Canada will contribute $100 million over the next five years to support projects focused on habitat restoration, science and technology adoption. This is part of a broader range of activities relating to five-year wild salmon policy implementation and to important changes to the management of aquaculture policies.