One of the coho smolts that was put back into the Alouette River. (ARMS/Special to The News)

One of the coho smolts that was put back into the Alouette River. (ARMS/Special to The News)

Salmon left high and dry, rescued by Maple Ridge conservationists

ARMS asks people to watch for fry in puddles along Alouette

The Alouette River Management Society will go the extra mile to save stranded salmon fry, and invite the public to do the same.

The conservation group published a social media post about rescuing some 60 salmon fry that had become trapped in two puddles on Friday.

Spokesperson Alex Holmes said she was called to save the young fish. Given the stress on the populations in the Alouette River, she said rescuing even a small number of fish is well worthwhile.

“I think it’s important that we attempt to put as many back in the river as we can,” said Holmes.

There were both chum fry and coho smoltz in the puddle. The fry, four centimeters long, would be about three months old, she said, while the smolts would be much farther along in their life cycle at about eight centimeters long, and 18 months old.

She said at this time of year the river will swell with heavy rains, but as the water recedes, the salmon can be left in puddles, where they will die.

“If you see any small puddles or bodies of water that are cut off from the main river body, please check them for stranded fish,” requested Holmes. “These puddles are limited in the amount of food and oxygen available to the fish and run out of resources fast.”

She said the fish can be gently scooped by an aquarium net or bucket, and placed back in the river.

The problem of stranded fish appears to be worse this year, because winter flooding has changed the river’s edges, cutting away river banks in some places, and depositing gravel in others.

What’s more, the flooding events of 2021 caused damage to spawning beds and the loss of eggs.

“The salmon population in our river took a hit last year,” Holmes said.

So, she asks people along the river to be aware they might need to rescue salmon from puddles, or they can call ARMS at 604-463-9699 to have them save the salmon.

• ARMS will be holding a virtual annual general meeting on April 14 at 7:30 p.m. via Zoom.


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