SHELTER BAY — Kids from Columbia Park and Arrow Heights Elementary Schools as well as dozens of curious adults came top Shelter Bay Provincial Park to help release 7,500 white sturgeon hatchlings on Tuesday.
Funded by BC Hydro, the 10-month-old fish were hatched and reared at the Freshwater Fisheries Kootenay Trout Hatchery for release into the Columbia River under the Columbia River Water Use Plan. This was the fifth year that BC Hydro, the Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program and the Freshwater Fisheries Society of B.C. with the Revelstoke Rod and Gun Club hosted a release event downstream of Revelstoke Dam.
For the kids, this was a an exciting chance to escape their classrooms and help young animals begin a new stage in their lives.
White sturgeon are North America’s largest and longest-lived freshwater fish, reaching a maximum size of six metres (19 feet) and 682 kilograms (1,500 pounds). It is estimated that white sturgeon life expectancy can exceed more than a century. Current population estimates show that within the Canadian portion of the upper Columbia River basin approximately 50 adults reside in the Arrow Lakes Reservoir, with an additional 1,500 wild fish downstream of Hugh Keenlyside Dam in Castlegar. Researchers have recorded spawning, but have found very few young fish, indicating that few young sturgeon are surviving to adulthood.