Namgis First Nation (Gwa'ni Hatchery)

Project Description


Project Name: Namgis First Nation (Gwa'ni Hatchery)

Partner Group: Nimpkish Resource Management Board

Contact Info:
Hank Nelson, CEDP Manager
Fax: 250-956-4733

The Namgis First Nation project is located near the mouth of the lower Nimpkish River on the northeast coast of Vancouver Island, near Alert Bay. This project was initiated in 1978 to enhance productivity of Nimpkish salmon stocks, generate harvestable surpluses, and participate in stock management.

At this hatchery chum are incubated in modified Atkins and substrate incubators and reared in troughs and raceways. Sockeye are incubated in Heath trays to eyed stage then transferred to lake cassette incubators until emergence. They are subsequently released into the lake. Coho and Chinook are incubated in Heath trays and reared in partnership with the Woss Community hatchery in cap troughs and circular tanks.

From 1980-1982, the project focused on the production of sockeye and chum at the Willow Creek site and expanded to include coho and Chinook. In 1984 a pilot facility at Cheslakee Campsite took over production of chum and Chinook. Sockeye ceased in 1988 when the Willow Creek site was closed. Coho production was moved to the Cheslakee Hatchery in 1989.

In 1990, the existing hatchery was constructed and began producing Chinook and chum. Coho was added to the list in 1992. In 2000, due to the species population crash and the Band’s interest in a food fishery and commercial exploitation, the Namgis insisted on the re-introduction of sockeye production.

Current Project Objectives are to:

  • Rebuild Nimpkish sockeye and chum populations to meet food, social, ceremonial and commercial interests and eventually develop a cost recovery program for both stocks
  • Build capacity of Namgis First Nations to participate in watershed and estuary management as well as protection of resources through work experience and teaching Band members about their traditional territory.
  • Meet the desire of other stakeholders in the community (ie. NRMB, sport and commercial fishers)

Did you Know?

  • The Namgis First Nation Band’s project involves its members to introduce them to the beauty of the land, rivers, and the resources their people traditionally and continue to use.

  • The Namgis First Nation, with its own funds, built an Attraction Channel where the hatchery water now flows into. One very important reason for this is to protect the brood coming back from the seals.

  • The hatchery manager is developing the box seine to capture chinook in the Woss River. This device will prevent the ever so smart female Chinook from diving under the lead line of the beach seine net.