Abegweit First Nation
 

Abegweit Biodiversity and Enhancement Hatchery

The Prince Edward Island Department of Agriculture and Forestry recently called for expressions of interest for the production of brook trout and Atlantic salmon for restocking efforts in Prince Edward Island. Abegweit First Nations responded to this expression of interest and reached an agreement with the Department for the production of fish for recreational restocking efforts on PEI. The hatchery building has been completed and we have approximately 4,000 brook trout that are incubated, hatched and growing. Funding in part is provided by the Prince Edward Island Department of Agriculture and Forestry and other partners are being sought. The hatchery will be providing approximately 50,000 brook trout and 100,000 atlantic salmon for restocking PEI rivers. The are 2 employees working at the hatchery. Technical assistance is provided by MCPEI’s AAROM program and PEI Fish and Wildlife.

We also have another exciting partnership with the Fish Friends of PEI. The Fish Friends have aquariums in a number of different schools across the island that are maintained by a teacher and their students! Fish Friends is a program that will allow students to appreciate the sensitivity of fish to environment degradation and the importance of our recreational fisheries to society. With the new found knowledge, students will mature into young adults knowing the detrimental effects of poaching, pollution, and destroying the habitat!

It takes only a matter of seconds of research to see just how much the environment needs help. Together, we can show our gratitude to Mother Nature by giving back and helping out in anyway. It’s time to take some of the responsibility of the environment in our own hands, help us by keeping all fish in the water, recycle, do not litter, and become a better steward of the environment!

For more information, please contact Scott Taylor, Hatchery Manager at cstaylor@abegweit.ca or call (902)676-2321.

Connect with us on Facebook www.facebook.com/abegweithatchery or on our website www.abegweithatchery.ca

 

Vision

Our Vision is to enhance the river systems on Prince Edward Island through community partnerships, education, innovation and cultural awareness to maintain environmental sustainability for future generations.

Mission

The Mission of the Abegweit Biodiversity Enhancement Hatchery is to replenish PEI river systems with indigenous and at-risk aquatic species through partnership, innovation, education and cultural integrity.

 

Biodiversity

Biodiversity, or the existence of a variety of species, is critical to maintaining habitats and ecosystems. Each habitat has a unique combination of living things, creating a precious balance. If any one species is eliminated, another one increases to take its place. The more species that are eliminated, the greater the imbalance, and the quicker the habitat begins to decay. The more complex an ecosystem, the more stable the habitat; therefore, biodiversity is essential for habitat survival.

Canada lists “sustaining viable populations of species” as one of its key objectives in its report to the international Convention on Biological Diversity. Currently, operations at the Abegweit Biodiversity Enhancement Hatchery feed directly into this objective. In future, though, the hatchery is looking to hatch other species – e.g., the striped bass — to contribute to diversification.

Fish Stocking

Fish stocking, dating back hundreds of years, is the practice of raising fish in a hatchery and releasing them into a river, lake, or the ocean to supplement existing populations, or to create a population where none exists. This process is used to restore native species to waters where they have been overfished or can no longer breed. Stocking may be for commercial, recreational, or tribal fishing, but may also be to restore or increase a population of threatened or endangered fish in a body of water. Fish stocking may be undertaken by governmental agencies in public waters or by entrepreneurs in private waters.

According to the province’s annual Angling Summary, restoring quality fish habitat is the first step towards improving the sport fishery in P.E.I. However, fish stocking is also an important tool in fisheries management.

The Abegweit Biodiversity Enhancement Hatchery is proud to supply the province with thousands of brook trout and Atlantic salmon to replenish stocks in Island waterways.

RAS

In the near future, the Abegweit Biodiversity Enhancement Hatchery will be installing a recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) designed to filter water from the fish tanks so it can be reused within the tank. This technology will dramatically reduce the amount of water used from 600 litres per minute to only 50 litres per minute. The steps in RAS include solids removal, ammonia removal, carbon dioxide removal and oxygenation. Installation of the RAS system is further evidence of the hatchery’s commitment to environmental sustainability.

Fish Friend Program

Learning about wild Atlantic salmon and other fish species in our rivers and seas is fundamental to caring for them. Fish Friends, a component of the Atlantic Salmon Federation’s Education Program, is made available to students in more than 700 schools across the region. The Federation believes it is essential that tomorrow’s adults to care enough never to poach, pollute waters or destroy habitat.

Focusing on environmental sustainability, the Fish Friends program covers habitat, biodiversity, life cycles, change over time, adaptation to change, freshwater ecology, sustainability and stewardship. Based largely on science, this popular program also integrates social studies, language arts, math and art. Observation, measurement, communications, prediction, numeracy, and interpretation of data skills are also reflected in the program.

Through Fish Friends, students raise Atlantic salmon – from eggs to fry — in their classrooms over a five-month period before releasing them into an Island river as part of a field trip. In 2013, eight Island schools participated in Fish Friends and more have expressed an interest in the program moving forward.

As part of its strong commitment to support conservation and enhancement of fish stocks on the Island, the Abegweit Biodiversity Enhancement Hatchery supplies the eggs for this popular program.

FAQs

Q. What is a fish hatchery?
A. A fish hatchery, in the simplest of terms, is a facility in which fish are raised. It provides a safe haven for artificial breeding, hatching and rearing fish through their early life stages. By maintaining proper water temperature and oxygen levels, and providing adequate food supplies and safety from predators, a hatchery provides an optimum environment for fish eggs to develop and hatch.

Q. Where is the Abegweit Biodiversity Enhancement Hatchery?
A. The hatchery is located on the Abegweit First Nation reservation in Scotchfort, Prince Edward Island?

Q. What types of fish are hatched at the Abegweit Biodiversity Enhancement Hatchery?
A. Currently, the hatchery focuses on brook trout and Atlantic salmon, both of which are indigenous to Prince Edward Island. In the future, it may diversify into other species, such as the striped bass.

Q. What exactly does this hatchery do?
A. The hatchery replenishes fish stocks in Island waters. To do this, it takes brood stock – a female and a male – from Island waterways during spawning season and harvests the eggs and sperm for artificial breeding before releasing the fish back into their environment. Under controlled conditions, the eggs develop and hatch, providing hatchery with thousands of fish to release into the same river from which the brood stock was taken.

Q. How long does it take to grow the fish?
A. It takes approximately five months from the time the eggs hatch until the fish are large enough to release into the wild.

Q. How big are the fish when they are released into rivers and streams?
A. The fish can be anywhere between ½ gram to 5 grams

Q. How many fish does the hatchery release into Island waterways each year?
A. The hatchery releases close to 100,000 fish into Island rivers and streams each year, split fairly equally between brook trout and salmon.

Q. Who decides which rivers will receive fish stocks in any given year?
A. The province and the Wildlife Federation determine which waterways are restocked, and provide direction to the hatchery. The decision is based on a number of factors, including the number existing stock in the rivers, the popularity of the location for fishing, and the health of the water environment.

Q. Doesn’t the hatchery interfere with the natural life cycle of the fish?
A. The hatchery does not interfere with the natural fish life cycle; rather it simply provides a safe and nurturing environment for the egg fertilization and development phases as well as the fish’s early growth period. These same phases happen in the wild, but with very few survivors.

Q. What is the hatchery’s involvement with the Fish Friends program?
A. The hatchery is pleased to provide eggs to schools participating in the popular Fish Friends program. Hatchery staff also work closely with the teachers and students throughout the growing and releasing process.

Q. Is the hatchery open to the public?
A. The hatchery believes that education is an important component of its work. It regularly opens its doors to schools, veterinary students and others interested in the important work done at the facility.