Producers of Pacific Salmon & Trout - Ova, Fry & Smolts
Omega Pacific has been dedicated to advancements in Pacific Salmon Culture since 1980. With more than thirty consecutive years of spawning and growing Chinook salmon, Omega has discovered optimum rearing methods to ensure high ocean survival. In the 1980’s the fish farming industry used the standard Fisheries & Oceans template to grow Chinook salmon smolts to stock their sea pens. Results varied, with a survival rate averaging less than 50% after 6 months in seawater. Since then, Omega Pacific’s advancements in Bio-Technology has enabled the culture of smolt populations which consistently achieve 96% survival after 22 months in an ocean environment. (Documented by Co-operative Assessment Salmonid Health (C.A.S.H.) Program).
Since 1996 we have held the vision of applying our proven methods to effectively rebuild wild salmon stocks in British Columbia. In 2003 we approached the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) recommending changes to their existing practices and to incorporate the methods we had advanced. Our method results in growing a “pathogen free” Chinook juvenile for an additional year in cold water, similar to a natural. Done properly, this single change creates a smolt that is more immune competent, disease resistant; better prepared to adjust from fresh to saltwater and take on the ocean migration. Furthermore, this yearling smolt spends less time in the estuary, is less affected by predators such as mackerel and is large enough to access available feed. This type of fish is called an S-1 Smolt. (Also known as yearling or stream type smolt).
The process of enlightening DFO of our advances in husbandry practices has been painfully slow; however, our persistence in presenting our findings to both local and Federal levels of Government is gradually allowing for change. We are currently rearing smolts for re-building three rivers on BC’s lower coast. These are the Phillips River, Nahmint River and Sarita River. We have also proposed a seven year project to compare results between DFO’s standard enhancement methods to our natural yearling smolt. We have additional proposals for low level stocks such as Bedwell River, in Clayoquot Sound.
Currently, all West coast Vancouver Island Chinook Stocks are dangerously low in numbers or have expired. Current methods for enhancement are producing marginal results. If West Coast Chinook stocks are to be saved it will require releasing the best possible high survival juvenile, such as we are proposing.
".....if the Cohen Commission's inquiry into the collapse of BC's salmon stocks is truly revealing, then it will undoubtedly point out that status quo methods of enhancement are inadequate, and, clear the way for hands-on visionaries to get the job done."
Omega Pacific Hatchery
Carol Schmitt or Bruce Kenny
PO Box 9
Port Alberni, BC