Snorkelling with the salmon is catching on across the country – literally.
Thanks to Destiny River Adventures, salmon snorkelling in our own heritage river, the Campbell, is well known in Canada and internationally thanks to countless feature articles and a prime time spot on CBC-TV’s The Rick Mercer Report.
That fame and know-how also caught the attention of Parks Canada officials who wanted to conduct a salmon survey at the Fundy Biosphere Reserve in New Brunswick.
As a result, Destiny’s Jamie Turko and Jim DeHart travelled to Alma, NB, last week to train 37 college students and to develop safety and procedural guidelines for future snorkelling trips.
“It’s very unique. It’s not like our river system,” Turko said Wednesday after getting back to Campbell River.
The UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) designated Fundy Biosphere includes the Salmon River which is home to a failing run of Atlantic salmon.
“A few years ago they had 800. The next they had 200,” said Turko. “They don’t know what’s happening and it’s been a struggle for them.”
During their few days in the river, in four different pools amongst the Black Hole, they counted just eight Atlantics.
Parks Canada is hoping to restore the run through its small hatchery and a key component to the overall goal to salmon enhancement and survival is to get good counts of young and adult fish in the river.
And that’s where Destiny Rivers came in – all the way from Campbell River.
They spent two days training a pair of Parks Canada Rangers in swift water rescue and then spent three days training the students in snorkelling techniques, ecological restoration and salmon monitoring. The students were from the Maritime College of Forest Technology in Fredericton, NB.
“It was quite an honour to go out there and be a part of this. We hope to work more with Parks Canada in the future,” said Turko.