BIG SALMON ranch in Washington State. (Center for Whale Research handout)

BIG SALMON ranch in Washington State. (Center for Whale Research handout)

Non-profit buys Chinook ranch in hopes of increasing feed for southern resident killer whales

The ranch, which borders both sides of Washington State’s Elwha River, is a hotspot for chinook salmon

There is new-found hope for the dwindling population of southern resident killer whales which reside part-time off B.C.’s coast, and it comes in the form of a 45-acre salmon ranch.

Dubbed BIG SALMON Ranch, the Center of Whale Research purchased the farm in October 2020, but only announced it Wednesday (Dec. 2).

The ranch, which borders both sides of Washington State’s Elwha River, is a hotspot for chinook salmon to spawn.

The goal is to take full advantage of the salmon abundance as it flows from Olympic National Park into the Strait of Juan de Fuca where the southern resident orcas often feed.

Ken Balcolmn, Center of Whale Research founder and senior scientist, says that approximately 7,400 chinook recently returned to the Elwha, creating roughly 900 nests, called “redds” each of which contained 5,000 fertilized eggs.

“Optimally, over four million baby chinook smolts will be produced by the Elwha,” he said. “By 2024, this could result in 80,000 to 250,000 returning adult chinook salmon for the whales and ocean fishers to catch.”

Latest statistics estimate that there are 74 southern resident killer whales left in the world. The species lives along B.C.’s coast and travels as far south as California through the year.

PHOTOS: 2nd calf in a month confirmed among Southern Resident killer whale pod


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

Southern Resident Killer Whales

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

An Ater-group Airon Slug identified during YES’s Bio-Blitz. (Yellow Point Ecological Society photo)
Yellow Point Ecological Society’s Bio-Blitz a big success

The Yellow Point Ecological Society held their first-ever Bio-Blitz over the weekend… Continue reading

Grade 12 LSS student Catherine Sampson, Grade 8 LSS student Cianna Vincent, and LSS Aboriginal Education teacher Brenda Kohlruss led the LSS ceremony honouring missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls and two-spirit people. (Cole Schisler photo)
Ladysmith Secondary ceremony honours missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls

A small ceremony was held in the LSS foyer on the National Day of Awareness for MMIWG

Peter and Wayne Richmond and 49th Parallel Grocery won the award for Business Achievement 20+ Employees at the Duncan Cowichan Chamber of Commerce’s 22nd Black Tie Awards on Tuesday, May 4, 2021. (Submitted)
Ladysmith businesses recognized at Black Tie Awards

Black Tie Awards are given annually by the Duncan Cowichan Chamber of Commerce

Ladysmith’s Town Council met on May 4 and set a 0.52 percent increase for 2021 property taxes. (Town of Ladysmith/YouTube)
Town of Ladysmith adopts 0.52 percent tax increase for 2021

Mayor Aaron Stone praises the increase as among the ‘lowest in the province’

The CVRD introduces new app to contact residents during emergencies. (CVRD photo)
CVRD launches new app to spread information during emergencies

Cowichan Alert is a free app that can be downloaded onto smartphones, computers

Protesters attempt to stop clear-cutting of old-growth trees in Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew. (Will O���Connell photo)
VIDEO: Workers, activists clash at site of Vancouver Island logging operation

Forest license holders asking for independent investigation into incident

A black bear made a visit to downtown Vancouver Tuesday, May 4. The animal was spotted on train tracks in Gastown shortly after at 2:30 p.m. (Twitter/Craig Minielly)
VIDEO: Black bear spotted meandering around downtown Vancouver

The bear was reportedly tranquilized by conservation officers Tuesday afternoon

Vivian Hermansen, Snuneymuxw First Nation, initiator of petition e-3281. Photo by Karen Evans.
Status card wait times an example of systemic racism, says Campbell River woman

Snuneymuxw woman launches petition as people waiting up to two years, as passports take three weeks

Flow Academy is located at 1511 Sutherland Avenue in Kelowna. (Michael Rodriguez/Capital News)
Interior Health locks out Kelowna martial arts gym following COVID violations

Actions were taken after all other steps to gain compliance were exhausted, says health authority

A man who allegedly spat at and yelled racial slurs at an Asian family was arrested for hate-motivated assault Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
Arrest made after man spits, yells anti-Asian racial slurs at Victoria mom and kids

The man was arrested for hate-motivated assault near Quadra Elementary School Tuesday

A lady wears a vaccinated sticker after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Canada may find it challenging to reach herd immunity from COVID-19, experts say

Level of immunity among the population changes with the variants, especially the more transmissible strains

B.C.’s provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Dip in COVID-19 cases with 572 newly announced in B.C.

No new deaths have been reported but hospitalized patients are up to 481, with 161 being treated in intensive care

The courthouse in Nanaimo, B.C. (News Bulletin file)
Island man sentenced in Nanaimo after causing a dog unnecessary pain and suffering

Kiefer Tyson Giroux, 26, of Nanoose Bay, given six-month sentence

Following a one-year pause due to the pandemic, the Snowbirds were back in the skies over the Comox Valley Wednesday (May 5) morning. Photo by Erin Haluschak
Video: Snowbirds hold first training session in Comox Valley in more than 2 years

The team will conduct their training from May 4 to 26 in the area

Most Read