The science facility being built to save the Nechako White Sturgeon from extinction is halfway to completion.
The Vanderhoof conservation centre is on schedule to open in spring, said officials on Tuesday. It is one of the key components to a "multi-pronged recovery plan" said Brian Frenkel, chair of the Nechako White Sturgeon Recovery Initiative's community working group.
"We are pleased with the progress of the facility and Im very excited that this coming spring the conservation centre staff will be capturing brood stock - mature male and females - and raising the group of young sturgeon.
Along with the hatchery component, the conservation plan also includes a research component that, said Frenkel, "aims to identify and remove survival bottlenecks for wild sturgeon and improve the health of the Nechako watershed for sturgeon and other species."
The construction and operation of the conservation centre is the responsibility Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC, a private, non-profit fisheries organization. That organization's facilities manager, Cory Williamson, said I am excited to see this project well on its way. Not only will the new facility produce young sturgeon to rebuild the population, it will serve as a centre for white sturgeon research in the north.
The rare and mysterious fish likely cannot be saved by this facility alone, Frenkel added. The spawning habitat needs to be kept in good health and that requires commercial, industrial and public sides to all work together.
While the sturgeon conservation centre is a key component of the sturgeon recovery plan, it is important that all the research and habitat projects continue with the goal to identify issues that can be resolved.
For further background information please visit www.nechakowhitesturgeon.org.