Sockeye Fry Release
On May 20th, 2015, members of the Okanagan Nation and surrounding schools will come together to partake in a ceremony, so the Kł cp̓əlk̓ stim̓ will continue to take place, and the sockeye will always return to feed the people.
This release will prove to be particularly meaningful and monumental for a number of reasons. This will be the first sockeye fry from the Kł cp̓əlk̓ stim̓ Hatchery, which opened last fall. In addition as part of the ONA sockeye education program, over 200 students who have raised fish in their classrooms over the winter, will come together to release their “babies”. This provides the opportunity for the youth to learn about the sockeye as well allows nation youth to affirm deep connections with the sockeye salmon and their return.
As has been noted by Chief Clarence Louie of the Osoyoos Indian Band: “The success of the Skaha Lake Sockeye Reintroduction Program, combined with the determination and continued efforts of the Okanagan Nation to maintain its inherent responsibilities to restore and protect its salmon fisheries, will ensure the survival of Okanagan Nation Sockeye for the benefit of our people today and future generations”.
Years of hard work and political advocacy, particularly in the last decade, have seen the ONA working with provincial, federal and US Tribes and agencies to rebuild this sockeye run. One of the projects resulting from these collaborative efforts has been the Skaha Lake Sockeye Reintroduction Program. The ONA Fisheries Department has been directed to develop and implement the reintroduction program with input and guidance the Columbia Okanagan Basin Technical Working Group (COBTWG) representing Provincial, Federal and Local agencies and partners along with our Okanagan Nation member communities.
This ceremony will be the start of the fry being released for 2015. The hatchery will continue to release fry over the course of week. This year promises to be another successful return of sockeye, with the possibility of upward of 400,000 fish expected to return to the mouth of the Columbia River.
Date: Wednesday, May 20th, 2015
Location: Penticton Channel, off Hwy 97 & Green Mountain Road, Penticton, BC
For More Information Contact:
Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, ONA Chairman Tel: (250) 490-5314
Howie Wright, ONA Fisheries Program Manager Tel: (250) 718-5215