Sturgeon spawning a success

The fish at the Nechako White Sturgeon Conservation Centre have made it through the hardest part of the husbandry process.

Kara Varley is testing the water at the Nechako White Sturgeon Conservation Centre for levels of toxins that could potentially be harmful to the fish.

Fish at the Nechako White Sturgeon Conservation Centre are growing as planned, and have survived the hardest part of the husbandry process, said senior fish culturalist Mike Manky.

“The first feeding is the most challenging stage because they are quite picky on what they’ll eat and how they’ll eat. We’re passed that now and the fish seem to be growing really well,” said Mr. Manky.

Since it’s grand opening on July 17, the fish conservatory has housed approximately 12,000 baby sturgeon in hopes to putting them back into the Nechako river this spring.

With the help of 18 adult sturgeon caught in a successful brood capture,  the centre had a fruitful spawning period. This was done by extracting eggs from the female’s bowels and drawing sperm from the males with a rubber hose on a syringe.  After the collection the eggs were mixed and fertilized and put into incubation jars that sat inside shallow ponds. Once hatched the baby sturgeon use up their yolk sac as an initial food reserve, but after that they need to be fed right away, said BJ Bruder, a junior fish culturalist whose job is to feed the fish.

“It’s a critical life stage because you know what happens when you don’t eat,” said Ms. Bruder.

The fish food is made from various fish and comes in tiny pellets. Krill is used as a flavour enhancer to entice the fish to eat. Some fish grow faster than others so the pellets come in different sizes. Once the fish reach a certain size its important to grade them and put them into separate ponds, said Mr. Manky.

“We grade them into different ponds geared to size so the bigger ones don’t eat the little ones,” said Mr. Manky.

Another big reason to keep the fish separate is to avoid adult fish spreading disease into the juvenile (young) fish. To lower the chances there are three separate water filtering systems. The juvenile, adult holding and adult spawning ponds all get their own water treatment so that the water can be reused and there is a low risk of contaminating an adult disease with the baby fish.

Water sampling is also done every day to measure levels in the water for things such as ammonia and nitrate, which can be toxic to fish. Even the water temperature must be measured to maintain a proper habitat since the facility uses both water from the river and de-chlorinated city water.

“The city water comes in handy during hot weather because the river water is to warm we have to cool it down,” said Mr. Manky.

Currently the baby fish are about half-an-inch to two inches and will grow to about 10 inches by the planned release date in April.

“Basically they will be the size of a sub from subway,” said Ms. Bruder.

In the past, the Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC has run other pilot projects but didn’t get them as big as what is planned for this batch of fish.

“Bigger fish produce a higher survival rate and since when we release them they will be quite big, we are expecting a high survival rate,” said Mr. Manky.

There are two female adult sturgeon being held for next year’s spawning. They are all about 65 years old and seven-and-a-half feet long. White sturgeon are the largest fresh-water fish in North America and can grow to be 20 feet in length, weigh 1,500 pounds and live over one hundred years. Free tours will continue running at the Nechako White Sturgeon Conservation Centre weekly on Thursdays from 2p.m. to 3p.m. For more information visit gofishbc.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just Posted

VIDEO: This is what buying legal pot in B.C. looks like

Take a look inside B.C.’s first and only legal pot shop located in Kamloops

Darrell Holland is running for council in Fraser Lake

Holland has worked within the sawmill as an industrial electrician for 15 years

10 things still illegal in the new age of recreational cannabis

Pot is legal – but there are still a lot of rules, and breaking some could leave you in jail

Retired RCMP officer Kim Watt-Senner in the running for Fraser Lake council

Watt-Senner spent 19 years with the RCMP and also owns a business in Fraser Lake

John Murphy is running for re-election in Vanderhoof

The Vanderhoof councillor wants to work on housing and transportation

Mellow opening to B.C.’s only legal pot shop

About five people lined up early for the opening of the BC Cannabis Store in Kamloops.

Jagmeet Singh says marijuana pardons are not enough

Trudeau government will streamline pardon process for Canadians convicted of simple possession of marijuana in the past

BC Ferries begins taking debit in two-month pilot project

Company is giving customers option to use Interac on two-month trial on select vessels

Caregivers banned from smoking, growing cannabis around children-in-care: MCFD

Ministry has limited cannabis use for caregivers, stating it may “pose a risk to children and youth.”

Cheaper strains sell out within minutes on online BC Cannabis Store

Province says new strains will become available in the coming months

Just 7% of Northern B.C. car dealerships have electric cars available: report

Researchers found buyers frustrated at the lack of options

VIDEO: Millionaire Lottery returns to give back and win big

Since 1996, Millionaire Lottery has raised $52 million for the VGH+UBC Hospital Foundation

Test case challenges a politician’s right to block people from Twitter account

3 people say Watson infringed their constitutional right to freedom of expression by blocking them

Most Read