The Port Alberni fishing community continues to put money back into salmon enhancement in the Alberni Valley.
The Ultimate Fishing Town committee presented a $10,000 donation on Feb. 8, 2022 to the Alberni Valley Enhancement Society. The funding came from last summer’s Labour Day salmon derby.
Scott Kenny of the Alberni Valley Enhancement Society says the funding will go towards improvements to the Jake Leyenaar Hatchery, located at McLean Mill National Historic Site.
“Over the last year, we’ve been working on major repairs and upgrades to our facility,” said Scott Kenny. “This funding will let us finish this work.”
Some of the repairs and upgrades include a fresh coat of paint, roof repairs and expansion of the hatchery’s holding tanks. The new funding will allow the society to add four more six-foot tubs to their tank collection.
“The tubs are important because they hold adult fish in the fall,” said Kenny. “We hold them until they’re ready to spawn. We also use the tubs in the spring to hold the fry, which gives us extra capacity for the fry released in the spring.”
Currently, the association is holding thousands of coho and chum eggs, some of which have already hatched. These will be released in the spring.
“This funding is really important for us,” Kenny said. “We’ve put a lot of volunteer hours into this, and it will help us finish the projects we’ve been working on over the past year. We’re really grateful to the salmon derby and all its participants.”
This is just one of the donations made by the Ultimate Fishing Town commitee after last year’s successful salmon derby. At the end of 2021, the committee gave a $25,000 to the Pacific Salmon Foundation for salmon enhancement projects in the Alberni Valley. They also made a donation to the West Coast General Hospital Foundation’s emergency room expansion fund, and they plan to donate funding for some net pen work at China Creek Marina.
Overall, said committee member Al Ehrenberg, the derby raised around $50,000.
“This is a contribution from the fishing community and the local businesses that funded prizes,” said Ehrenberg.
The Ultimate Fishing Town committee is hoping to hold a derby again this summer and raise a similar amount for salmon enhancement.