Toboggan Creek Fish Hatchery under threat of closing
The Toboggan Creek Fish Hatchery is under the threat of closing down in the coming years if federal funding doesn’t pick up, according to manager Mike O’Neill.
He says their budget has been stagnant for the last 25 years at $155,000 dollars annually, saying that keeps them from collecting valuable data.
“We’re on the verge of having no data to manage a billion dollar fishery that’s so valuable as a food source to everybody,” says O’Neill. “And without that data source you become vulnerable to what’s happening in the Fraser right now, where they lost their fishery last year because of a lack of data and a lack of understanding of the(fish)stocks.”
O’Neill says funding needs to double to allow a budget of $230,000 to operate the facility properly. Edging closer to retirement as the manager, O’Neill wants to make sure the reins of the hatchery are in capable hands.
The Tobaggan Creek Fish Hatchery is one of the last in the area. O’Neill says most have been closed over the years with those funding dollars not re-distributed.
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The estimated total escapement into Toboggan Creek for 2016 is 6,640 Coho. The total number of Coho captures and samples was the sixth-highest in the past 28 years of sampling dating back to 1989.