Fraser Linza holds up a two-year old Juvenile Sturgeon for the camera. (Aman Parhar/Omineca Express)

Fewer fans in the stands for Annual Sturgeon release due to pandemic

The event is usually bubbling with community members, and local elementary students who release the fish into the Nechako River.

Two hundred Juvenile Sturgeon were released last week as part of the Nechako White Sturgeon Recovery Initiative’s annual sturgeon release.

Due to the virus pandemic, the pre-historic fish had to be released without students from local schools. Usually elementary school students from the district release the Sturgeon into the Nechako River from Riverside Park, and it is aimed to be an educational community event.

For Jordan Cranmer, tour guide at the Nechako White Sturgeon Conservation Centre, her job at the facility changed a lot once B.C. first declared a state of emergency due to COVID-19 in March.

“Connecting with community members is specially hard this year, and I really miss the tours,” Cranmer said.

Normally, there are two tours a day at the hatchery and more on weekends, but that hasn’t been possible with COVID-19 restrictions in place.

To keep people engaged, Cranmer has been making videos and using Facebook to reach out to the community.

“I was hired as the tour guide for the Nechako White Sturgeon Conservation Centre so I made virtual tours each month to keep the community connected. We have released our first one that captures our June brood capture and spawning procedures here in the facility. But we will continue to do that for the coming months,” she said.

Cranmer learned how to make videos during her time at Nechako Valley Secondary School, and said those skills have transferred well into her current job.

For this year’s release, Juvenile Sturgeon were released from five different sites around Vanderhoof, Fort Fraser and Fraser Lake. This release includes both wild Sturgeon as well as two-year old Juvenile’s hatched within the facility.

An interesting fact is that the two-year-old’s hatched within the facility and released are the size of a normal four-year-old Sturgeon, Cranmer said. This is done to reduce the risk of predation. Otters continue to be one of the biggest predators for the Nechako White Sturgeon.

In terms of why the hatchery is an integral part of the community, Cranmer said, “It brings our community together towards saving an endangered species and I think that’s huge, whether it is in our education system or within our elderly community . We are connected and I think those inter-generational connections within the community are huge.”

Aman Parhar
Editor, Vanderhoof Omineca Express

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Reflection of Jordan Cramer in the Nechako with a newly released Juvenile Sturgeon swimming under water. (Aman Parhar/Omineca Express)

Jordan Cranmer at the Nechako White Sturgeon Conservation Centre. (Aman Parhar/Omineca Express)

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