Portage Creek Chinook conservation enhancement
Portage Creek Chinook are classified federally as a vulnerable single-site Conservation Unit and have had diminishing returns for almost 10 years. In this multi-year project, Fisheries and Oceans Canada proposes strategic enhancement for a minimum of one generation (five years), to support rebuilding this population and preserving its genetics. Further work will investigate the limiting factors contributing to the decline. This project will support enhancement and coded-wire tagging activities of up to 50,000 yearling smolts. Enhancement will provide the population with a greater smolt survival rate, while the tags will provide much-needed assessment and stock distribution information.
Update: Portage Creek Chinook successfully spawned
Unprecedented broodstock collection efforts took place from October 15–28, 2019, resulting in the first ever successful spawning of Portage Creek Chinook in the Bridge-Seton River Watershed. Gametes (reproductive cells) were collected on-site from adults and transported back to Tenderfoot Creek Hatchery. A total of 12 females and 25 males were spawned, for a total egg take of 54,300 eggs and an average fecundity of 4,525 eggs per female. Offspring from female fish with low-positive detections of bacterial kidney disease (approximately 4,000 fish) were released as fry on February 19, 2020. All fry were transported and released safely in healthy condition. The remaining 48,000 Portage Creek Chinook will be released as yearling smolts in spring 2021. Tenderfoot staff conducted the collection activities with support from St’at’imc Eco-Resources Ltd. and Salmonid Enhancement Program (SEP) staff from DFO regional headquarters.
Final report: executive summary
Portage Creek Chinook are classified under the Government of Canada’s Wild Salmon Policy as a vulnerable single site Conservation Unit. This stock has had diminishing returns for approximately 20 years. The current adult Chinook returns are likely insufficient to maintain the population. Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) anticipates that this population will become extinct over the next two generations (ten years) without intervention, resulting in the loss of a genetically unique Conservation Unit. With support from BC Hydro’s Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program (FWCP), DFO proposed strategic enhancement of this stock for a minimum of one generation (five years) to support preservation and rebuilding of this population and its unique genetics, while further investigating the limiting factors contributing to the population decline. This project is aligned with FWCP’s Bridge-Seton Watershed Action Plan priority action BRG.ALL.SB.04.02: Implement high priority habitat and/or species-based actions for fish and/or wildlife.
DFO staff from Tenderfoot Creek Hatchery and Regional Headquarters, in collaboration with St’at’imc Eco-Resources Ltd., conducted broodstock collection activities from October 15 through October 28, 2019, which resulted in the first ever successful spawning of Portage Creek Chinook. A total of 12 females and 25 males were spawned, for a total egg take of 54,300 eggs and an average fecundity of 4,525 eggs/female.
Click the provincial database link below to read the full final report for this project.