Broodstock Update, Hatchery Eggs

Capturing Spawning Wild Okanagan Sockeye Salmon For The Hatchery

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.

Spirit of the Syilx Unity Run 2018

Spirit of Syilx Unity Run

Between 140 and 200 participants will come together over the 4 day run, with a minimum of 100 runners joining for the entire 4 days. Based on the previous years, the average age of runners will be in between the ages of 14 and 18 years of age, with the youngest runner being 5 and the oldest in their 60’s.  The majority of the runners will be members of Okanagan Nation communities who are chaperoned by designated community members.

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Okanagan Nation Alliance operates Gravity-fed Sockeye Hatchery

The Okanagan Nation Alliance (ONA) operates a state-of-the-art $8 million sockeye salmon hatchery, just outside Penticton, in southern British Columbia, Canada.

“We are building a state-of-the-art program for sockeye enhancement,” says Richard Bussanich (Masters in Marine Sciences from the University of Guelph). The Okanagan Nation Alliance constructed the 25,000 square foot gravity-fed hatchery as a key part of the Okanagan Sockeye Reintroduction Plan. It’s a 12-year trans border project led by the ONA, that combines water management, habitat restoration, dam passages and fish enhancement.

It was new to DFO that a First Nations group would own a sockeye hatchery of this size and are doing it for enhancement purposes. We’re not raising fish to sell,” notes Lawrence. “And it’s not costing Canadians a cent,” adds Bussanich. Funds for the hatchery have come entirely from the Public Utility Departments of Grant and Chelan Counties, in Washington State, as part of their Columbia River dam mitigation commitments.

The Okanagan Nation Alliance represents eight “Syilx” or “Okanagan” communities around the Okanagan Basin, including the Colville Confederated Tribes in Washington State, on stewardship issues.

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Okanagan Nation Alliance’s Okanagan Lake Sockeye Fry Release

Okanagan Nation Territory (Westbank, British Columbia):

between June 6th and 9th, 2017, the Okanagan Nation Alliance’s (ONA) kł cp̓əlk̓ stim̓  Hatchery provided sockeye salmon fry for releases taking place at 6 Mile Creek, Trout Creek, and Mission Creek. The releases of 230,000 fry are in recognition and celebration of the Syilx peoples’ continued successful efforts to bring sockeye salmon back to the Okanagan, and since 2016 to Okanagan Lake.

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Introducing the New Ocean Wise Sustainable Seafood Program

To commemorate World Oceans Day, Ocean Wise is evolving along with the Vancouver Aquarium, to announce a new venture that will have international impact: the launch of a global conservation organization and a digital storytelling hub that will inspire the next generation of ocean leaders.

The name of that new organization is Ocean Wise.

Ocean Wise Logo Transition

Ocean Wise Logo Transition

As you may know, the original Ocean Wise — the sustainable seafood program of which you base your seafood purchasing decisions — was founded by the Vancouver Aquarium in 2005. Over the last 12 years, the program has expanded from 16 partners in Vancouver to over 700 partners with thousands of locations spanning across Canada.

Ocean Wise will now be a global conservation initiative focused on an international audience of ocean and nature lovers. The new Ocean Wise organization will be supported by four key pillars: education, research, engagement and aquariums.

For our customers, the changes are largely cosmetic. The program will continue to be called the Ocean Wise seafood program, and Okanagan Select will continue to be an active partner.

The new Ocean Wise logo will begin to appear on Okanagan Select and River Select labels and packaging, as we update our products and packages. You will notice the new labels on Okanagan Sockeye fillets and Cold Smoke products, first.

Ocean Wise Listing

Ocean Wise Listing


This is an exciting new chapter for the Ocean Wise sustainable seafood program, as it begins to address seafood sustainability on a global level. You, our customer, are integral to the program’s success to date and its ongoing evolution. A wholehearted thank you from our entire team. We look forward to sharing this journey with you!  If you have any additional questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to the Okanagan Select or Ocean Wise seafood team members.

Forward Thinking: Syilx Knowledge Informing Watershed Management

Forward Thinking: Syilx Knowledge Informing Watershed Management is the third annual Okanagan Nation Water Forum. The forum will bring together Syilx Nation citizens, government staff, and regional water stakeholders to exchange knowledge and have dialogue in an effort to build relationships and find a common vision for our shared responsibility for water. Join us for a full day of presentations, expert panels, networking, facilitated dialogue and a Social showing youth art.

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Pass Creek Maintenance and Fish Habitat Creation 2015-2016

In the summer of 2015, the ONA (Okanagan Nation Alliance) repaired two eroded sections of the creek bank, removed damaged and hazardous log structures, and created additional fish habitat in Pass Creek. The ONA also completed a riparian (banks of a river) planting project adjacent to the treatments areas within the stream.

To increase fish habitat complexity and availability, nine boulder structures were created to provide habitat for fry; while, the addition of riparian vegetation also increased nutrient contributions and shade over stream

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