7500 young salmon (from last years crop) were released on 23rd July into McKinnons Creek. These fish ( one year old) will travel down to the Rangitata river estuary then swim out to sea, spending the next 2 years in the ocean before returning. Click the video button to see the young fish preparing to migrate down the creek.
Click the video button to see the fish being transferred from the hatchery to McKinnons Creek.
The Trust had its AGM on 5th July at hut 60 Rangitata Reserve South. There was a good attendance and many of the issues facing hatcheries were discussed.
The Committee consists of;
President: Phil De Joux
Treasure: Alan Brooks
Secretary: Paul Centofanti
Chris De Joux
Tim Wakefield (ex officio )
Dennis Laplance Chairmans Report to the AGM is attached below.
Work continued over the period with eggs being picked over, dead eggs removed and as the eggs hatched their progress was monitored daily. Once the egg sack dissolved away the small fish were known as being "zipped up". At this stage they were transferred to stainless steel tanks inside the shed where they are at time of writing. They all appear to be progressing well and they are learning to take food from the water surface.
For all McKinnon’s Creek Hatchery supporters and helpers in both North and South hut communities, plus the many others in South/Mid Canterbury who help and support, here is a hatchery update. Fortunately we were able to operate under MPI restrictions and a strong SOP during the period of lockdown to ensure survival of the species and so with minimum numbers of volunteers we carried on.
130 sea run adults returned to hatchery. Approx 130,000 eggs from some of these incubated. All remaining fish released to McKinnon’s creek. Approx 53 Broodstock females used. 120,000 eggs incubated. All females crossed with sea run males. All remaining broodstock released into McKinnons creek. A total of 250,000 eggs, (give or take) are under incubation. The trap has been removed and there are salmon throughout the length of McKinnons creek. Some of these are spawning in suitable areas. These results are remarkable considering operating under strict protocols and MPI guidelines. Thanks must go to the volunteers who achieved these results to ensure we can all enjoy our fishing for salmon in the future. There are severe restrictions imposed by Fish and Game, that limit our range of activities to McKinnons creek and the lower part of the Rangitata river. Photos show some happy helpers and other activities associated with the spawning cycle. Click on photos to enlarge.
Who know's what is around the corner???
The build up of the current Pandemic and subsequent lock down has had a marked effect on operations at the hatchery.
Just at a time when a good number of adult fish began to turn up at the hatchery, we had to make some drastic changes to hatchery operations to comply with Level 2 then level 4 lock down rules. Firstly we clarified with the Ministry of Primary Industries that we were classed as an essential service under "animal/fish welfare and the survival of a species". Secondly we produced a strict SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) for anyone working at the hatchery plus a trace-ability list. Anyone working at the hatchery has to sign the document to show they will comply. Attendance has been kept to an absolute minimum and only essential jobs are being done. Family "bubbles" are strictly reinforced.
To date around 85 adult fish have returned from their sojourn in the ocean and have been trapped and located in adult pens at the hatchery. This comprises 50 female fish and 30 odd males.
We kept a number of fish back from our 2018 release as broodstock as a backstop in case the salmon run petered out altogether and fed and looked after them in one of the raceways. These fish began to mature from the beginning of March and stopped eating as they would in the wild.
Because of the decision to cut back somewhat on the workload for hatchery volunteers, it was decided to release some of these into McKinnon's creek and let them spawn naturally in the stream. So in mid March, after separating the males from the female fish, we released 235 females and 80 males back into the stream. To date these fish have dispersed throughout the creek and some "redds" have already been spotted.
The annual fin clipping day attracted a good number of helpers once again and the job of clipping 7500 salmon smolt was completed in 1.5 hours. These fish will be released later this year and hopefully return in 2022. In addition a few returned adults were removed from the trap to more permanent housing. Many thanks to all those who attended and to Alan Brooks who gave the assembled crowd some insight into the future of hatcheries within the overall plan of salmon enhancement.