Supporting Hatchery Efforts to Restore Coquitlam River Sockeye

Project Year: 2016-2017

View Provincial Database Record

Sockeye Salmon

Project Lead

Watershed Watch Salmon Society


Coastal Region


Project Type

Species-Based Actions

FWCP Contribution


Action Plan Alignment

Coquitlam Salmonid Action Plan

Project ID


Coquitlam Sockeye Restoration Using Hatchery Intervention

In this project, hatchery intervention initiated in 2015/16, will be used to increase the number of Sockeye smolts that are leaving Coquitlam Reservoir, resulting in an increase of adult Sockeye returning to the reservoir. This project is part of the effort to re-introduce Sockeye Salmon into Coquitlam Reservoir. Approximately 10,000 hatchery-raised Sockeye smolts will be released below Coquitlam Dam to allow for a sustainable Sockeye escapement. Until a surface smolt release option has been built that attracts Kokanee smolts to leave the reservoir, hatchery-based smolt releases were recommended and supported as an option by Kwikwetlem Salmon Restoration Program (KSRP) committee members (Plate et al. 2015).

The long-term benefit of this project is the re-introduction of the extirpated Sockeye population into Coquitlam Reservoir. The smolts produced as part of this project will boost the numbers of adult Sockeye returning to an anticipated 50-100 fish that will build the foundation for a self-sustaining Coquitlam Reservoir Sockeye population.

Final Report: Executive Summary

In the Coquitlam-Buntzen BC Hydro system, numerous interested parties have a vision of restoring salmon runs that have been obstructed from migrating into the reservoir since 1914. In 2007, the first adult Sockeye Salmon returned to the Coquitlam Reservoir dam following the release of 620 Kokanee/Sockeye smolts in 2005. These fish were transported over the dam and released into the reservoir in a historic ceremony led by the Kwikwetlem First Nation. While the project has been successful in seeing these initial returns of adult Sockeye Salmon to the Coquitlam River, few Sockeye/Kokanee smolts have emigrated from the reservoir in each successive year. The reasons for the continued low numbers in adult returning from the ocean to Coquitlam Reservoir are likely based on low numbers of juvenile smolts leaving the reservoir to the ocean. To maximize potential for successful establishment of a viable anadromous Sockeye population under existing conditions, progeny from the residential Coquitlam Reservoir Kokanee were used as broodstock for a hatchery intervention. Genetic stock identification of the resident Coquitlam Kokanee concluded the Kokanee to be recent descendants of the anadromous Sockeye population and therefore to be well suited as a locally adapted broodstock.

Click the provincial database link below to read the full final report for this project.

View more about this project on the provincial database