Sunday, May 19, 2024

Colville Fish and Wildlife hosts First Salmon ceremony

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BRIDGEPORT – For the seventh time since the opening of the Chief Joseph Hatchery in 2013, the Colville Tribes Fish and Wildlife (CTFW) Department hosted the seventh annual First Salmon Ceremony at the hatchery on Thursday, May 23.

Under the direction of Master of Ceremonies and Colville Tribes Fish and Wildlife Director Randy Friedlander the first salmon was caught at the fish ladder at 6 a.m. accompanied by prayer and songs by tribal elders.

While ceremonial salmon were cleaned, filleted and prepared for baking over the traditional fire pit, guests enjoyed breakfast at the hatchery administration building.

Colville Tribes Natural Resource Director Cody Desautel welcomed guests to the morning’s events and CTFW Senior Research Scientist Casey Baldwin explained future steps in the transport of salmon stocks above Chief Joseph and Grand Coulee dams.

Updates on the Chief Joseph Hatchery and Okanogan Sockeye Hatchery preceded a tour of the hatchery facilities.
Lunch at 11:30 a.m. included the first salmon caught earlier in the morning, featured table songs and concluded with a closing prayer.

The Chief Joseph Hatchery is funded through the Colville Tribes’ Columbia River Fish Accord with the Bonneville Power Administration.

The Colville Tribe held a ribbon cutting with the initial salmon ceremony at the hatchery in June 2013. The facility purpose is to increase spring, summer, and fall Chinook salmon in the Okanogan and Columbia Rivers with the goal to produce 2.9 million juvenile fish each year.

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