One day in early November, I dropped by the Margaree hatchery to see if the Atlantic Salmon brood-stock we helped capture from Doyle’s bridge pool this summer were still on hand. They were, along with salmon gathered from the Middle, Baddeck and Mabou rivers. The salmon from different rivers are kept in separate tanks. I had the opportunity to view the process of spawning these fish and it was quite fascinating.The salmon are sedated using a mild neurotoxin to make handling of the fish easier,and safer.The salmon are then weighed, their lengths are measured and scale samples are taken. The eggs and milt are extracted from the salmon.
Next, they are tagged and released. These tagged fish will make up a portion of the 80 or so salmon tagged this year for next spring’s Department of Fisheries kelt project, which MSA will again participate in.
Samples of unfertilized eggs are sent to the Agricultural College in Truro and are analysed for diseases. Careful records are kept, so if a batch of eggs tests positive for disease, they can be destroyed.The fertilized eggs are then carefully monitored until March when they hatch out. It is interesting to note,that on average, 18% of the fish returning to the Margaree, are fin clipped hatchery fish. The adipose fins of parr are clipped in November and they are released into the Margaree,as soon as this is done. Fin clipping parr is another activity MSA participates in. On average,100,000 parr and 65,000 smolt are released annually. Last year,the Margaree hatchery also released 210,000 trout fry.
This was my first time witnessing all this work at the hatchery and it was a fantastic learning experience. Thanks goes to the hard working, professional staff at the Margaree hatchery; Bobby Ingraham, Andrew Morrison, John Carrigan and Wendy MacEachern. The Margaree hatchery plays a big part in ensuring the future of Atlantic Salmon and trout on the Margaree and other waters in the area.