The Prince Rupert Port Authority (PRPA) has made a donation to ensure the legacy of salmon on the North Coast.
The Prince Rupert Salmon Enhancement Society and Oldfield Creek Fish Hatchery are the latest recipients of the PRPA’s Community Investment Fund, which provides financial support for Prince Rupert projects or initiatives that contributes to a lasting legacy and enhance the quality of life in the community. Using the port’s $10,000 donation, the Salmon Enhancement Society was able to complete the Salmon Education and Stewardship Centre at the Oldfield Creek Fish Hatchery, the first of its kind in Northern British Columbia. The centre consists of interpretive galleries, a classroom and wet and dry labs.
“[The centre] is a perfect example of the type of environmental initiative and legacy initiative that the fund really supports,” Ken Veldman, director of public affairs at the PRPA, said.
“Salmon, in particular, remains core to the cultural identity of Prince Rupert and surrounding area through its current and historical role in our regional economy and continued contribution to our quality of life. We hope this initiative will contribute to greater understanding of its importance while ensuring this invaluable resource is abundant for future generations,” PRPA president and CEO Don Krusel said.
The Oldfield Creek Fish Hatchery is operated mainly by volunteers, including college students, residents and professionals within fishery agencies. The centre will assists volunteers in their efforts to educate the public and promote salmon stewardship, all while rebuilding salmon populations in the North Coast.
Volunteers will host workshops and provide educational programs to give Rupertites and visitors a basic understanding of salmon, their life cycle and links to sustainable coastal ecosystems.
“As they did with a generous donation from the Community Investment Fund in 2010, the port authority has again affirmed the important role of environmental education and stewardship in our community. We are excited about the opportunities this centre will provide for engaging even more Prince Rupert residents in the restoration and improvement of local salmon habitat, as well as the value it adds to our growing tourism industry,” Neil Pilgrim, president of the Prince Rupert Salmon Enhancement Society and Oldfield Creek Fish Hatchery, said.
The hatchery was recently modernized with more than $45,000 of funding from a number of groups in the area, with the port’s donation helping to finish the project off.