For the past four years the Oldfield Creek Fish Hatchery in Prince Rupert has held Smoltfest, an event where members of the community are invited to the hatchery to partake in the release of thousands of Smolt Salmon and other enjoyable activities.
This year Smoltfest will be held on Saturday, May 28, starting at four p.m., with the releasing beginning at five p.m. Some 15,000 fish need to be released at Smoltfest, which is around half of what the hatchery will free this year. At the event people will take Smolt in buckets to be released in the Oldfield Creek. After being discharged the fish will spend a short amount of time in the creek before they start their lengthy journey into the ocean. If everything goes accordingly, the Smolt will return in two to three years ready to spawn and continue the cycle. Smoltfest is held in the evening so that the release is less stressful on the fish, and to increase their chance at survival.
Additionally, people in attendance can enjoy delicious barbeque food, games, educational booths and a craft table where children can decorate wooden fish that will be put on display after renovations are complete on the fence surrounding the hatchery.
Entry will be by donation, with all the money raised going towards the hatchery. This year, the focus of the funds collected will be going towards completing renovations occurring at the hatchery.
The hatchery has been making some extensive renovations over the past year with the next step being to redo the floor.
When complete, the renovations will include an education centre, one of the only centers of this nature in the Province. This will be helpful for the “Friends of the Salmon” program that various schools in town take part in where students get to learn about the life cycle of the
Beth Armstrong-Bewick from the hatchery says that the organization is always in need of volunteers. Currently there are just over 10 people who regularly volunteer their time to the organization.
The Prince Rupert Salmonid Enhancement Society started Smoltfest four years ago to help raise awareness and get the community involved with the hatchery, which is a non-profit organization run by volunteers. People wishing to volunteer are encouraged to call the hatchery at 250-624-5127.