Sunday, October 23, 2011

Fish Hatchery Field Trip

Hatchery Tour

Each year I try to set up or make sure we join in some fun field trips being offered to homeschoolers here on the island and thought it would be fun to organize a trip out to a nearby fish hatchery this year.

Salmon Eggs

There were about 30 of us total and the children got to watch the harvesting of salmon roe (eggs)...


and the milt (sperm) from the male salmon.

Egg Incubation Room

Salmon roe are incredibly hardy little rubbery feeling balls and can handle quite a bit of touching so the kids all got to hold some and name them :) The little black spots are their eyes and in the incubation room above were trays and trays of mixed salmon roe and milt waiting to hatch and turn into little Alevin in about 3 months.

Salmon Sample

When we were finished in the incubation room we had a chance to watch some of the workers taking samples from some of the salmon. They do this randomly and they were taking a piece of the liver from this fish to be sent to Nanaimo for analysis.

Missing Dorsal fin

Did you know that hatchery fish don't have dorsal fins?

Dorsal fin

I actually didn't know this but when the young salmon they raise at the hatchery are released into the rivers and streams they have had their dorsal fins removed so that they can easily be identified when they are adults. The above salmon is a wild salmon and you can see that its dorsal fin is still intact :)

Black bear fishing

As we finished up our tour we all headed down to the river to watch some of the salmon that were spawning right outside the hatchery naturally and came upon a black bear that had come to check out the salmon as well.

Spawning Salmon

He wasn't there purely as a spectator though...

Bear taking spawning salmon

and minutes later he had snatched up one of the salmon and proceeded to take it into the forest for a little afternoon snack *grin*. I guess it was good that we were on the other side of the river when it happened but unfortunately I couldn't get a clear shot of him without all of the fencing in the way. Still very cool for the kids to watch :)

Hope you all had a great week to!



Jess said...

That field trip sounds amazing! And you had the added bonus of a bear. So cool!

house full of jays said...

Fun! This looks rather more exciting than our hatchery visit last month in Qualicum. We just got to look at the 30 year old photos they have up. ;)

Wasabi Honey Bee said...

Sounds like a lot of fun!!!

Unknown said...

Amazing!!! I love photographing bears! One catching a salmon is definitely on my bucket list! Lucky you :)