Up to 2000 B.C. coho salmon killed by Coquitlam chemical spill
By Jennifer McFee, Coquitlam NOWJune 24, 2009 2:26 PMComments (1)
Coquitlam NOWMETRO VANCOUVER -- A chemical dump in Coquitlam’s Hyde Creek has killed masses of newly hatched salmon since it was discovered over the weekend. Laura Dupont, a volunteer with Hyde Creek Watershed Society, said a member of the non-profit organization noticed dead fish in the creek on Sunday. She said a chemical probably entered the creek through a culvert under Coast Meridian Road at Lincoln Avenue in Port Coquitlam.
"It probably killed at least 1,000, maybe 2,000, wild coho fry. It wiped out a lot of them - probably this whole season's fry - which is really crummy because it's not long since they've been hatched," Dupont said.
"This is something really nasty that has made the water in the creek cloudy, which it shouldn't be. We don't know what it is, and we don't have the facilities or the funding to attempt to clean up spills." She said the chemical could have a long-term effect on the coho population in Hyde Creek.
"A few years down the road, we could have basically no wild coho come back. It's a fairly small number that comes back anyway, but with every spill we have into the creek, it wipes them out. It wipes out a generation of the wild fish," she said.
"We still have our hatchery fish, but they're different and a number of them may not come back. It just knocks out the population hard by wiping out a huge amount of them.
"We certainly keep our eye on the creek, but we do have a fair amount of spills and dumps. It's frustrating, for sure." Micheline Brodeur, communications advisor for Environment Canada, said an enforcement officer was on scene Tuesday to conduct a preliminary inspection of the area.
"They'll certainly be following this up, but right now we don't have any information," Brodeur said.
"They have a look at the situation and have a look at the water. If it hasn't been too long since it happened, they would take some samples ... to see if there's any information to be gathered from testing the fish, testing the water and assessing the scene."
Brodeur said Environment Canada would likely have more information later this week.
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