Sturgeon release invoked a sense of wonder

By David F. Rooney

Members of the Shuswap, Ktunaxa and Okanagan First nations came to Revelstoke last Friday to help in the annual sturgeon release conducted by Freshwater Fisheries, BC.

Drums, chants and the arrival of a huge trade canoe were all important elements of this year’s ceremony.

Four hundred of the prehistoric-looking fish were released on Friday. The sturgeon is the largest freshwater fish in North America.

Here’s a series of images that will give you a sense of what the day was like:

Native drummers hold a ceremony at the Centennial Boat Launch prior to the sturgeon release Friday. Members of the Shuswap, Ktunaxa and Okanagan First Nations came to Centennial Park on Friday to help celebrate the release of 400 baby sturgeon. Photo courtesy of Jackie Goodman
A massive trade canoe approaches the boat launch as part of the native ceremony in honour of the sturgeon release. Photo courtesy of Jackie Goodman
Scores of baby sturgeon crowd a tank brought by Freshwater Fisheries BC to Revelstoke for release last Friday. David F. Rooney photo
Cathy Fielder of Freshwater Fisheries tells a group of children about the great white sturgeon that are native to the Columbia River and the Northwest Pacific Coast. David F. Rooney photo
A young boy reaches into a bucket to snag a young sturgeon that will he will personally release into the river at the base of the Centennial Park Boat Launch. David F. Rooney photo
But before he can let it go, it is scanned by a fisheries technician. All of the young sturgeon carry electronic identification tags. David F. Rooney photo
Once scanned the boy carefully carries the struggling fish towards the edge of the water. David F. Rooney photo
There, he squats to release his fishy captive. David F. Rooney photo
The boy releases his tiny charge and off it swims into the river — free at last! David F. Rooney photo
A circle of natives beat a drum as one of the simultaneously rocks an infant. David F. Rooney photo
Two children paint their own sturgeon, provided by the North Columbia Environmental Society. David F. Rooney photo
School children paint their own colourful sturgeon. David F. Rooney photo
A sturgeon swims off into the wide, deep world of the Columbia River. Hundreds of fish are released here every year but life is tough in the wild and no one seems to know exactly how many will survive and thrive. David F. Rooney photo