A young salmon

Exposing an invisible salmon migration

An “invisible migration” taking place under the surface of northern rivers will be revealed with a series of events starting on May 11.

An “invisible migration” taking place under the surface of northern rivers will be revealed with a series of events starting on May 11.

Every spring about 300 million juvenile salmon make their way from lakes, rivers and streams to the Skeena River estuary.

The Skeena Watershed Conservation Coalition is highlighting the migration of the tiny fish, known as smolts, with three events at locations near Smithers and Hazelton.

SWCC executive director said the series of events had been dubbed the Invisible Migration because the fish were hidden under the opaque surface of muddy spring floodwaters.

“We see these muddy rivers flowing past our communities and it’s easy to forget that just below the surface the waters are teaming with giant plumes of baby salmon,” said McPhail.

The events are an extension of celebrations held annually to mark the return of the adult salmon from the coast.

McPhail said it was important to recognize the journey of the young salmon back to the saltwater.

“Our communities always celebrate the return of the adult salmon each fall, because they are such an important food source,” she said.

“But the out-migration of the smolts heading to the ocean is just as amazing and equally important.

“This year, we decided to celebrate their journey, too.”

The first event will take place at the Babine River Fish Fence, where the Lake Babine Nation’s fisheries program conducts a catch-and-tag program of smolts as they leave the lake.

There will be hourly boat tours starting at 10 a.m., a ceremony and a free wild salmon barbecue starting at noon.

Invisible Migration events will also be held in Hazelton on May 20 and Prince Rupert on May 23.

The latter will mark their arrival at the Skeena estuary, where Petronas hopes to build its proposed Pacific Northwest LNG terminal on Lelu Island.

The facility would be used to process and export natural gas transported from Hudson’s Hope by TransCanada’s proposed Prince Rupert Gas Transmission Project pipeline.

McPhail said there were concerns the Petronas plant would damage eelgrass beds that provide rearing habitat for wild salmon.

“The estuary is a critical component of the Skeena system,” said McPhail.

“The smolts arrive at a sensitive time of their lifecycle.

“The estuary gives them a refuge from predators and a chance to get used to the saltwater environment before they head out to the open Pacific.”

According to Pacific NorthWest LNG’s website, the proposed facility would be located adjacent to Flora Bank, and includes a proposed suspension bridge and trestle to connect Lelu Island with the marine terminal.

It also says the facility has been designed to avoid sensitive marine environments, such as the eelgrass beds on Flora Bank.

For more information about the Invisible Migration events visit www.skeenawatershed.com or phone 250-842-2494.

Just Posted

Coastal GasLink gets interim injunction against Unist’ot’en

The LNG pipeline company can start work Monday with enforcement approved by court.

Smithers Christmas Bird Count

Time to register for the annual bird count, an effort done across the hemisphere.

They’re engaged!

Birthday party turns into engagement party for Doug and Matilda

Hampers a chance to help in the Christmas spirit

SCSA sends around 350-400 hampers to the area from Witset to Telkwa.

Volunteers create Christmas magic at Santa’s Breakfast

PHOTOS: For the past 19 years, a local event helped remind us that Christmas is a time of giving.

Trudeau to make it harder for future PM to reverse Senate reforms

Of the 105 current senators, 54 are now independents who have banded together in Independent Senators’ Group

Man dies after falling from B.C. bridge

Intoxicated man climbed railing, lost his balance and fell into the water below

B.C. animation team the ‘heart’ of new ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’

The animators, largely based in Vancouver, ultimately came up with a creative technique that is drawing praise

Light at the end of the tunnel for UN climate talks

Meeting in Katowice was meant to finalize how countries report their emissions of greenhouses gases

Janet Jackson, Def Leppard, Nicks join Rock Hall of Fame

Radiohead, the Cure, Roxy Music and the Zombies will also be ushered in at the 34th induction ceremony

Supreme Court affirms privacy rights for Canadians who share a computer

Section 8 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects Canadians against unreasonable search and seizure

B.C. fire chief pleads with Ottawa for traumatic stress support

Campbell River fire chief Thomas Doherty presented concerns to federal government

‘I practically begged’: Kootenay woman with breast cancer denied referral to Calgary

Breast cancer patient left to fight disease alone after being denied referral to Calgary

21 detained before Paris protests as police deploy in force

There was a strong police presence outside the central Saint Lazare train station, where police in riot gear checked bags

Most Read