Fish stocking during a pandemic

It was masks all around as a small team of conservationists stocked 15-thousand chinook salmon near Wiarton Friday June 26, 2020.

The fish were raised by the Owen Sound based Sydenham Sportsmen’s Association (SSA). They were trucked by tanker to the Gleason Brook mouth near Wiarton and stocked by members of the Bruce Peninsula Sportsmen’s Association (BPSA).

Observing safe social distancing and wearing masks, BPSA members formed a short bucket brigade, emptying the yearling salmon at a creek spot that featured a suitable water temperature for the hatchery raised fish.

They quickly scattered into nearby Colpoy’s Bay which is part of Georgian Bay. So far in 2020 BPSA volunteers have stocked over 21-thousand rainbow trout. Another 8-thousand bows remain in our hatchery held for future stocking, along with over 25-thousand brown trout which will be stocked later.

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This was yet another co-operative effort between the two conservation groups Wiarton Based BPSA and Owen Sound’s Sydenham Sportsmen. They often work together to enhance our Grey-Bruce sports fishery. For example the Wiarton based BPSA members help raise the giant tent at the Owen Sound Salmon Spectacular derby and also volunteer during the 10-day fishing festival which is on hold until 2021.

Both clubs are members of the 40-hatchery Ontario Community Hatchery Program (CHP) which is funded by the province and operated by the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (OFAH). The province and federation are working on a deal to extend the CHP for another three years until 2023.

In making the announcement during PANDEMIC 2020, OFAH reported hatchery program members “continue to show perseverance, ingenuity and dedication to getting the job done under difficult circumstances.” The federation “promises to look for ways to keep all community hatcheries strong during these challenging times, so they can continue to make important contributions to Ontario’s fisheries.”

The clubs normally practice hand and boot sanitation on entering their hatcheries. During the COVID-19 PANDEMIC BPSA volunteers are being extra careful. Surfaces are sanitized daily to prevent disease spread. Modified stocking, feeding and sanitation practices have allowed hatcheries to continue to house and release fish into public waters for the recreational fishery. It is estimated each fish stocked is worth 30-dollars to the community where it is stocked. Since the sixties BPSA has stocked more than 4-million fish in Grey-Bruce waters. The 300 member BPSA was established in the sixties to “preserve and enhance fish and wildlife.” BPSA operates the longest running volunteer-run fish hatchery in Ontario.

Most BPSA activities including youth and adult firearms training, youth and adult archery as well as our annual Kids Fishing Derby and annual Fund Raising Barbecue are on hold.

If you are curious about our conservation group and our aim of preserving and enhancing fish and wildlife, please check our website atΒ Β