The Fox Creek salmon restoration project will continue despite the loss of an estimated 25,000 to 30,000 chinook fry after a fire at a Whitehorse salmon incubation facility March 31, the Ta’an Kwäch’än Council (TKC) said.
In a press release April 4, Chief Kristina Kane said that while TKC is “saddened” by the loss of the chinook fry, which are believed dead after a fire tore through a building at the McIntyre Creek Incubation Facility, “we have long been aware of the resilience of nature and of our own people.”
“There may be lower numbers of adult returns for several years with fewer eggs being naturally deposited. The opportunity to train youth and staff in tagging in preparation for the fry release will most likely be diminished this season. However, this is a well-established and healthy project, dear to the hearts of the Ta’an people,” Kane said.
“Ta’an Kwäch’än Council will continue to monitor juveniles, flow rates, temperatures, wild fry emergence and the adult returns. While the loss of the Chinook fry in the hatchery is a misfortune, it is heartening that some fry, being raised in schools through the Stream to Sea Program, will be available for release. Through the interest of youth, the strength of our staff and Citizens, and the continued support of our partners and collaborators, the Fox Creek Restoration Project will continue to thrive.”
Kane also extended her condolences to Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation (VGFN), which lost 16,000 chum salmon fry in the fire, and Yukon College, which manages the incubation facility and is a partner to both TKC and VGFN on their respective salmon restoration projects.
The fire, which gutted one of four buildings that make up the facility, is believed to have been accidentally caused by a heat trace being used to melt frozen pipes.
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