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.
“The return of our sc ‘win (sockeye salmon) to Okanagan Lake is our fundamental and inherent right and responsibility as Syilx people,” states Grand Chief Stewart Phillip.
Howie Wright, ONA’s Fisheries Manager points out that “We now have another cold water lake [after Osoyoos and Skaha Lake] to help us build resilience in sockeye salmon stocks. Based on its size and depth we could see Okanagan Lake with a minimum of 30,000 -100,000 adult spawners per year. On top of that optimistically anywhere from 300,000- 500,000 for fisheries harvest would be coming to the Okanagan Basin to support the historical fishery at Okanagan Falls. It has the significant potential to meet food, social, and ceremonial needs, providing food security for communities, while seeing a surplus extend to a broad range of biological and economic benefits”.