At the Percy Walkus Hatchery, People for Salmon work to help Chinook rebound. The hatchery, a unique model to conserve, restore, and enhance special salmon stocks in Rivers Inlet, B.C., is run by the Wuikinuxv Nation on the Central Coast in partnership with local fishing lodges, PSF, and DFO.
The hatchery employs advanced genetic tools and parental-based tagging, which makes it possible to trace the parents of every hatchery fish that returns, and this along with data obtained using more traditional coded-wire tags indicate that enhancement efforts are working. Egg-to-fry survival in 2021 was higher than 90 per cent with more than 295,000 Chinook fry released.
Ted Walkus, Hereditary Chief of Wuikinuxv First Nation and nephew of Percy Walkus (whom the hatchery is named), carries the torch to conserve salmon.
“I think this should be a model for other nations to look at, to partner with local lodges and interested groups that want to do something to help salmon,” says Walkus. “Our hatchery is privately funded with 99 per cent of the money coming from sport fishermen putting back into a resource that they’re extracting from. Accolades to the Wuikinuxv Nation for accepting and being part of a successful story.”
With 100 per cent of the proceeds supporting hatchery operational costs, the annual Duncanby Lodge fundraiser held in June of 2022 set a record bringing in $600,000.
A special thanks goes to those who support the Percy Walkus Hatchery including Duncanby Fishing Lodge, Good Hope Cannery, Bridgeview Marine, and other generous individuals.
Walkus also notes that part of the success story is what the hatchery means to his community of 60 people. “When we can hire two or three in our community — it makes a difference to people as well as fish.”