September 22, 2014 - 1:37 PM
PENTICTON - The new sockeye salmon hatchery on the Okanagan River is a First Nations and salmon success story according to the Penticton Indian Band chief.
The Penticton Indian Band held a ceremony for the grand opening of the hatchery Sunday.
The Band has had a very successful salmon program for over a decade, and the new hatchery is going to bring even more success to the Okanagan Nation, Chief Jonathan Kruger said.
The $8-million facility is the most high-tech hatchery owned and operated by any indigenous band, Kruger said. It is equipped with monitors to keep an eye on the health of the fish and detect viruses.
A partnership between the Penticton Indian Band, Okanagan Nation and public utilities across the border in the U.S., where the fish travel, lets lab technicians at the Penticton hatchery monitor the fish when they’re far from home.
“We’re moving forward technologically and culturally... our hard work is all coming together,” said Kruger.
There have been record-breaking amounts of salmon coming back to spawn this year, Kruger said. And it’s only going to get bigger and better.
So far, the hatchery employs 35 people, and more will soon be brought on, he said.
The salmon is an iconic symbol in indigenous culture and the Penticton Indian Band recently opened its spring salmon fry release ceremony to the public. There is also an Okanagan Nation Salmon Feast that brings together bands across the Okanagan in a celebratory feast.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014