Prince Rupert Lions Club was spreading love to various city organizations with the proceeds from the 2021 Blue Knuckle Memorial Fishing Derby on March 7.
More than $17,000 was raised for community contributions from the 29th annual derby which saw in excess of 100 fishers participate in -14 C weather on Dec. 7.
Lions Club Treasurer Mike Kaardal said the derby is the club’s biggest fundraiser of the year, and they are always willing to assist where they can, with many different city organizations receiving from the proceeds of the event.
“We donate annually back to the community,” he said.
One of the organizations benefiting from the Lion’s generosity this year is the Oldfield Creek Fish Hatchery, managed by the Prince Rupert Salmonid Enhancement Society.
“The Lions were very generous to donate $5,000 that they raised through the derby,” Beth Armstrong-Bewick, president of the society, said.
The funds will be used for various projects at the hatchery, which has had to close operations due to damaging landslides in September 2021.
“So right now, we have several expenses coming up with the removing the debris that came from the slide, as well as doing a feasibility study of the existing waterline, and the intake. So it all helps,” Armstrong-Bewick said.
Not being functional has affected the one paid employee’s job at the hatchery.
Brandie Loranger, operations manager for the hatchery, said the empty facilities would usually have incubation trays full of baby alevin (yolk-sac salmon fry).
“However, we have had to be fundraising instead of fish raising,” Loranger said.
“[The Lion’s] have always been really good at supporting the hatchery, but this year was through the roof,” she said.
Kaardal said the Lions are currently working on processing more donations. In this round of giving, recipients include the Salvation Army Food Bank collecting $7,500, Prince Rupert Wildlife Shelter $1,500, Curling Club $500, Ecotrust Canada $500, Gymnastics Association $500.