The Cowichan Fish And Game Association was once again in action helping conserve and enrich our local wilderness heritage, this time donating 1000.00 to help fund the release of over 40,000 Chinook smolts by the Port Renfrew Salmon Enhancement Society .
Geoff Maxwell, Association President, said, “As the Cowichan Fish and Game Association, we have a mandate from our members to support our local wilderness and water areas. This initiative is a great one in that it directly supports Cowichan anglers of all kinds, and helps to keep fish stocks at a healthy level for environmental protection.”
The Port Renfrew Salmon Enhancement Society was incorporated in August 2010, as a not-for-profit society, registered in British Columbia, Canada to raise funds for salmon enhancement and protection, chiefly through the Port Renfrew Chinook Net Pen project.
Maxwell noted, “Our contribution meets our goals of supporting our local community in the responsible and healthy use of our shared environment, but it’s great to see the individual work, effort, and commitment that volunteers put into efforts like this.”
Their stated mission is to increase survival of the Chinook salmon from about 1/2 of 1% In the local San Juan River and is similar to the survival rate in Washington State hatcheries. With their program they are getting at least 2 % survival with these ocean net pen raised Chinook, a fourfold increase.
Now in the 8th year of the project they have raised and released a total of over 200,000 Chinook salmon. According to the website, this initiative is completely operated by community volunteers, including First Nations, local Fish and Game club members, and recreational fishers and all labour is provided on a voluntary basis.
For the last three years they have raised and released 40,000 per year in their own Chinook Net pens and have capacity for 50,000 Chinook in the 2 pens that are anchored in San Juan Bay. This year the release was 44,800 Chinook smolts.