Where possible and practical, says Park, stocking decisions are made by adopting the desires of the angling community. Where is Alberta’s fish stocking program headed from here? The big advantage to put and take programs is the introduction of game fish into waterbodies that previously had no recreational fishing available. I am also excited about AEP’s plans to introduce walleye stocking and the transfer of pike and perch into lakes that need it. Recent demographic studies of Lake Trout in Cold Lake estimated increased natural mortality in the contemporary population relative to the period before the commercial fishery. Well, according to Craig Copeland, AEP’s manager of fish culture programs, for every dollar invested in Alberta’s fish stocking program there is an $18–$20 return to the province’s economy. By the fall of 2020, it’s expected to be fully up and running. Right now, AEP manages four facilities within the fish culture program. Originally, Cold Lake hatchery reared walleye to aid in recovering depressed populations, but when the initial objectives for that program were largely met, walleye production ceased. A remnant population hung on for a while, but no restocking occurred and the population ultimately disappeared. Supplemental stocking is a widely used management tool to support recreational fisheries but is not always successful and can have consequences for the genetic composition of recipient wild populations. However, others dismiss this notion, suggesting that a more strategic use of the funds would be an increased investment in fisheries habitat restoration and protection, particularly on waters with populations of native trout. Ten years later, eggs from Barnaby Lakes fish were used to stock other alpine waters, including Rainy Ridge Lake in the Castle River system. For example, it’s hard to deny that rainbow trout hybridizing with native cutthroats and competing with them for limited habitat have contributed to the westslope cutthroat’s decline in our province. The government has earmarked $26 million for the modifications, which are expected to be completed by 2023. If, as many predict, our climate warms, some species may become viable in Alberta that weren’t previously, further diversifying our stocking options. AEP hosted a series of public consultation forums recently seeking opinion on the province’s fisheries management, including the stocking program. But is it worth the cost? Since the inception of artificial fish propagation in Alberta more than a century ago, governments and the angling community have displayed a variable appetite for a provincial fish stocking program. The result will be a fishery that is strong, healthy, vibrant, and sustainable for generations to come.”. An infectious virus (IPNV) originating from wild lake trout eggs invaded Alberta’s hatchery system in 1989, forcing the province to destroy all fish in the Sam Livingston Hatchery. Should that come to pass, we’ll have to ask if stocking is the only practical answer to meeting that increased demand. and you may need to create a new Wiley Online Library account. Just like you, I'm an avid angler. Use the link below to share a full-text version of this article with your friends and colleagues. “With walleye it’s a matter of quantity over quality. Some introductions were successful; others were not. In the years ahead, the province will have to make decisions about rearing and stocking westslope cutthroat trout, arctic grayling, bull trout, and native Athabasca rainbows, among others. Fish stocking doesn’t always guarantee success; it’s just one tool in the kit of our fisheries managers, and it’s continually evolving. Success in stocking programs means we must have cooperation from Mother Nature, and we can never be assured of that.”. The Cold Lake hatchery raises rainbow, brook, brown, and tiger trout from the eyed-egg stage for release across the province (brood stock eggs come from the Raven Brood Trout Station). Science and technology evolves with time, too. Your email address will not be published. Many of them see stocking fish as a necessary and integral component of the province’s fisheries management. Introgressive admixture between native populations and genetically divergent stocking sources may lead to outbreeding depression and/or homogenization of genetic diversity, which could potentially decrease the fitness of the native populations. Alberta fish farm reels in booming business November 12, 2020 Former vet college dean worries about economic climate November 5, 2020 Alberta job cuts hit rural social services November 5, 2020 We don’t culture walleye inside our facilities as we do trout. Golden trout, a fish of high mountain lakes, were stocked into the Barnaby Ridge Lakes, north of Waterton Lakes National Park, and in a couple other nearby waters in 1959. In the hacheries’ earliest days, brook, brown, cutthroat and lake trout along with splake were reared. Beyond the species already named, northern pike, perch, arctic char, atlantic salmon, bull trout, lake whitefish, arctic grayling, tiger trout, and several minnow species were also stocked in Alberta waters. Undoubtedly there will be a corresponding increase in demand for fishing opportunities. Unlike trout, which are released as 19 or 20 cm catchable fish, it takes several years before we have walleye that are catchable.”. I am based out of Edmonton, AB and explore water bodies all across Western Canada.