Jonesport Elementary teacher Jeanna Carver and her two daughters, stocking the fry raised in their classroom during the Fish Friends program that allows schools throughout Maine to raise and learn about Atlantic salmon.
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May is a busy time of year in the world of an Atlantic salmon. In the river, and also in our naturalized conservation hatcheries, the alevin (or sac fry) have finished absorbing their yolk sac full of nutrients. At this time they swim up and out of the gravel of the salmon redd (nest) and start feeding on macro-invertebrates (bugs). In the Peter Gray Hatchery, they will swim up and out of their specially designed incubation boxes that mimic salmon redds (see descriptions of the incubation boxes in the previous two month's Peter Gray Hatchery updates). Once they swim into the dark-colored rearing tanks they will start feeding on the macro-invertebrates that come through the hatchery as well as fish feed. From this point on they are free-swimming and will continue to grow and develop into "little athletes" through the summer.
At our stream-side conservation hatchery on the Pleasant River in Columbia Falls, we stock all the salmon out as unfed fry - salmon that have just absorbed their yolk sac. Until we achieve our plans of making that hatchery capable of raising Peter Gray fall parr, we employ as many Peter Gray tenants as possible for raising fry. This includes using unfiltered river water and the same style Substrate Incubation Boxes utilized at the Peter Gray Hatchery. This year, 89,414 Peter Gray style unfed fry were stocked into the Pleasant River by DSF. These salmon were stocked when they were developmentally ready, the river was ready (bugs to eat available), and were stocked at multiple sites throughout salmon habitat.
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Thank you for your time,
Fish Friends Program
Thank you to all the participants of this year's Fish Friends program. Peter Gray Parr Project staff mentored 10 local schools in 2020. I'd like to acknowledge the dedication of those participants. They included the Peninsula School, Jonesport Elementary, Rose Gaffney Elementary, Alexander Elementary, Shead High School, Washington County Community College, Cobscook Institute, Elm Street School, Scout Troop - Whitneyville, and Wesley Elementary.
During an unprecedented time of remote learning, some teachers took tanks home and teachers that checked on their tanks at their school all while developing remote learning opportunities for their students. We and the salmon you raised appreciate your efforts!