Restoring the run: Okanagan Nation fisheries success story celebrated
The scene on the banks of the Okanagan River Channel Wednesday morning was chaotic as hundreds of children and adults gathered for the ceremonial release of 10,000 sockeye salmon fry into the channel.
“This is a huge success story that we are all celebrating together. How cool is that?” said Chief Jonathon Kruger of the Penticton Indian Band, smiling as he looked over the crowd of more than 400 children from up and down the valley who had come to participate in the ceremony.
Kruger says, with justification, that this is one of the greatest success stories for bringing a salmon run back to a river. From counts of just three to four thousand in the 1990s, the number of returning sockeye has grown to 250,000 thanks to the work of the Okanagan Nation over the last 14 years.
“This is years and years of hard work,” said Kruger, noting that this is the second year the salmon fry were supplied by the new Kt cp’alk’ stim fish hatchery, located on PIB land next to Shingle Creek. The $9-million facility is the result of years of hard work itself, with the ONA collaborating with U.S. and Canadian organizations to make it a reality.
The salmon are deeply rooted in Syilx culture, making the return of the sockeye run important for many reasons.
Source: Restoring the run: Okanagan Nation fisheries success story celebrated – Penticton News