Incubation Box Rearing
In the fall of 2008 representative of the Medway River Salmon Association’s Environment Committee approached Mike McNeil, Manager, McGowan Lake Fish Hatchery with a view of seeking agreement to do an experiment rearing trout eggs in a stream side/in stream incubation box. Agreement was reached between the parties and arrangements were made to have trout eggs
transferred from the hatchery to the incubation box.
Next our Association approached provincial Natural Resources to use the man made waterways of the Old Charleston Fish Hatchery for this experiment. Agreement was reached between the parties to conduct such experiment in the winter/spring 2009. On April 3, 2010 we have a Letter of Authority from the Department of Natural Resources granting our Association permission to
use these lands from April 3, 2010 to March 31, 2015. The authority is to access the areas of the man made brooks located on the crown land to raise trout/salmon eggs.
Next approval was sought and received from Nova Scotia Environment to construct a dam across the waterway. In mid-February the dam was completed, the incubation box placed in the stream below the dam, water hook up from the dam to the box was
completed and 20,000 sea run trout eggs placed in the box.
To improve the pH levels limestone was placed in the buffer and bottom of the incubation box. The hatch takes place as water temperatures rise and the young will depart the incubation box when the yoke sac is dried, 4 to 6 weeks. The juveniles leave the box through a hose at the opposite end of the box. Mortality was less than 200 eggs making our first experiment a huge success.
In 2010 the McGowan Lake Fish Hatchery again supplied 20,000 sea run trout eggs and 7,000 “eyed” salmon eggs from a breeding of one male/female salmon at the Mersey Biodiversity Facility in Milton, were provided for a second incubation box. Both experiments went extremely well and the mortality numbers were greatly reduced to less than 60 for tout and 10 for salmon. The challenge for 2011 will be to reach agreement with Fisheries and Oceans Canada to provide salmon eggs for another incubation box rearing experiment.