As part of the CRSRI (Columbia River Sockeye Reintroduction Initiative), ONA (Okanagan Nation Alliance) has been catching and collecting eggs and milt from wild adult Sockeye salmon for rearing and release into Skaha Lake and Osoyoos Lake since 2004. This process has been very successful!
Since 2014, ONA has been rearing their own fry in the new Kl cp’ elk stim’ Hatchery located on the Penticton Indian Reserve.
ONA releases wild hatchery-reared fry into their traditional local habitat and monitors their growth, survival, and impacts on the food-web and effects on Kokanee populations.
Within one year these salmon fry will find their way to the Pacific Ocean, travel in schools up the BC coast as far as Alaska, and return in four years to spawn in the local water where they were released!
Thanks to the success of the CRSRI efforts, 2022 had the highest number of sc’win (wild sockeye salmon) returning to the Columbia River watershed since recording began in 1938!
To support the reintroduction initiative, ONA staff captured an estimated 4430 spawning wild Okanagan Sockeye salmon in the Okanagan River near Osoyoos and collected over 5.3 million eggs for the hatchery!
Approximately 95% of the sockeye eggs collected will mature into small salmon fry that will be released in local lakes in 2023.