Dan Shannon pauses in front of the bend in Bear Creek where he will put a fish trap to catch brood stock for his coho salmon enhancement project. Shannon, an avid fisherman, has been raising fish in a small hatchery on his dairy farm for 20 years.                                 SUSAN QUINN PHOTO

Dan Shannon pauses in front of the bend in Bear Creek where he will put a fish trap to catch brood stock for his coho salmon enhancement project. Shannon, an avid fisherman, has been raising fish in a small hatchery on his dairy farm for 20 years. SUSAN QUINN PHOTO

SALMON FEST 2018: Port Alberni derby entries help salmon enhancement projects

Shannon Farms raises fish on small hatchery along one of its creeks

In 2017 the Port Alberni Salmon Festival Society raised the price of derby tickets to $50, with the extra $10 to go toward salmon enhancement projects. As the 2018 Salmon Fest and annual fishing derby prepare to kick off Aug. 31–Sept. 3, two enhancement projects are putting cash infusions from that money to good use.

In February, Carol Schmitt of Omega Pacific Hatchery near Great Central Lake received $14,000 to assist with her innovative methods to raise and release chinook yearlings.

READ MORE: Salmon Fest contributes to salmon enhancement

“We had allocated that last fall,” said Chris Wynans from the Salmon Fest Society. There is an application process in place for these enhancement dollars, and the main criteria is the winning projects must involve bringing fish to the Alberni Valley.

“We want projects that actually create fish.”

The project funded at Omega Pacific was for code tagging and releasing the yearlings in the spring. “We’re expecting those fish to be back in four years,” Wynans said.

Dan Shannon of Shannon Farms was the second recipient of the salmon enhancement funding, and received his cheque on Saturday, Aug. 25. An avid fisher since he was a kid, Shannon will put his $3,000 to good use at the small hatchery he has maintained for the past 25 years.

Shannon is building a fish trap that will better assist him and other volunteers to catch brood stock in the fall. They raise 30,000 to 50,000 coho fry from four different creek systems: Bear, Deer, Spaht and Beaver creeks. Their hatchery is small, using a gravity-fed water system, and was built using leftover material from Robertson Creek Fish Hatchery.

Shannon admits he did everything backwards in the beginning, building the hatchery without official approval back in 1993.

He was put in touch with the late Jake Leyenaar of the Alberni Valley Enhancement Society and biologist Dave Cluff, and it didn’t take long before his operation was accepted by Fisheries Canada (DFO).

“Six or seven years after we’d been raising fish, DFO came to us with a book and we were in it,” Shannon said.

Although it seems strange that a dairy farm would have a fish hatchery on its property, Shannon said the two work well on the farm that has been in the family since the late 1800s.

“I wanted to see more fish coming back. I was worried that the numbers were never as good as when I was a kid,” he explained while showing a visitor the creek system that flows through his dairy farm.

“It was nice to try and put something back.”

The new fish trap, which Shannon said has been built with a lot of help from a Fisheries Canada community liaison, will be put in Bear Creek in a corner of his property, not too far away from the hatchery building.

Wynans said the decision to help Shannon with his small hatchery was an easy one. “That’s pretty cool that a private citizen has taken the initiative to help protect the fish.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

An Island Health nurse prepares a dose of COVID-19 vaccine. (Photo courtesy Island Health)
Health authority opening 19 clinics to immunize Vancouver Island residents

Health authority anticipates more than 40,000 people will be immunized over the next month

The Alberni Valley’s Emergency Operations Centre is located around the corner and below the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District office. (AV NEWS FILE PHOTO)
ACRD, First Nations to partner on regional evacuation route

Union of BC Municipalities grants $82K for route development

Traffic on Cherry Creek Road is at a standstill as emergency vehicles deal with the aftermath of a collision on Saturday, March 6, 2021. (PHOTO COURTESY TONY SHUMUK)
Air ambulance called for motor vehicle incident near Port Alberni

Helicopter lands on field near Cherry Creek Road

The Alberni Valley Bulldogs have teamed up with the WCGH Foundation in the past to deliver stuffed animals to patients at the hospital. (AV NEWS FILE PHOTO)
Alberni Valley Bulldogs hope to score large donation for West Coast General Hospital

Challenge is part of a league-wide initiative to help give back to teams’ communities

A Port Alberni RCMP car blocks access to Anderson Avenue at Burde Street. (RCMP PHOTO)
Replica firearm prompts police incident in Port Alberni

RCMP had blocked off a neighbourhood while searching for ‘man with a gun’

Elvira D’Angelo, 92, waits to receive her COVID-19 vaccination shot at a clinic in Montreal, Sunday, March 7, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
‘It’s been a good week’: Tam hopeful on vaccines as pandemic anniversary nears

Tam says the addition of two new vaccines will help Canadians get immunized faster

Const. Allan Young. Photo: Abbotsford Police Department
Manslaughter charge laid in Nelson death of Abbotsford police officer

Allan Young died after an incident in downtown Nelson last summer

(The Canadian Press)
‘Worse than Sept. 11, SARS and financial crisis combined’: Tourism industry in crisis

Travel services saw the biggest drop in active businesses with 31 per cent fewer firms operating

Pictures and notes in from friends and classmates make up a memorial in support and memory of Aubrey Berry, 4, and her sister Chloe, 6, during a vigil held at Willows Beach in Oak Bay, B.C., on December 30, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Mother of slain daughters supports recent changes to Canada’s Divorce Act

Sarah Cotton-Elliott said she believed her children took a back seat to arranging equal parenting

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The Port Alice pulp mill has been dormant since 2015. (North Island Gazette file photo)
Parts recycled, life returning to inlet as as old Port Alice mill decommissioned

Bankruptcy company oversees de-risking the site, water treatment and environmental monitoring

Victoria man Brett Andersen is asking for people’s help to secure him one of eight free tickets to the moon. (Screenshot/@brettandersen Instagram)
Victoria man wants your help securing a free ticket to the moon

Japanese billionaire offering eight people a trip to the moon

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

Most Read