Monday, December 12, 2011

Northwest Fish Culture Conference

Armed with fresh passports, several members of our hatchery crew eyed the border guard with uncertainty.  However, with a friendly "Where you headed, eh?", we were cleared through customs and headed to Victoria, British Columbia to attend the 62nd Northwest Fish Culture Conference.  This conference is a joint venture of States, Agencies, Tribes, Private ventures, and Provincial governments concerned with fish culture in the northwest.  Victoria's inner harbour provided a tremendous backdrop for the venue at the Historic Fairmont Empress Hotel.

Victoria's Inner Harbor
The view was complete with a festive decoration of the Parliament building and several totem poles honoring the traditions of this unique area.  Since many of the programs in the Pacific Northwest are closely tied to salmon and trout species, Victoria provided a great host for this venue.

A festively-lit Parliament Building, in Victoria, BC
Totem Pole
Of course, the conference was front and center stage.  The agenda covered a great depth of discussions ranging from New Investigational Animal Drugs to recirculating aquaculture systems and survivability issues in triploid salmonids.  The hatchery staff members spent their days scribbling notes and tracking down the latest innovations in the business.  After-hours were spent with old friends and new acquaintances.

The crew also took an impromptu field trip to the Vancouver Island Trout Hatchery to look at some retrofitted partial re-use systems.  These systems used an airlift pump to circulate, strip carbon dioxide, and re-oxygenate the water.  With this system, the Vancouver Hatchery was able to reduce water usage by almost 70%!  Despite the cold temperatures (-4 C), the Dworshak crew was excited to brainstorm ideas on how this could be applied in the future on the short trip back from Duncan to Victoria.

A tour of Vancouver Island Trout Hatchery

Time flew by during our visit and before we knew it, we were headed back to the hatchery re-invigorated with new ideas to solve the never-ending myriad of fish culture challenges we face daily.  How bout' that, eh?

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