Belyok club members take part in restoration of salmon populations

Belyok club members take part in restoration of salmon populations

On April 22, fifteen members of the Belyok, an environmental biology club which is the first stage of the Growing up at the Aquarium project run by the Primorsky Aquarium, went to a fish hatchery to participate in the release of juvenile chum salmon (Oncorhynchus keta) into the Barabashevka river.

The visit is part of the program of science and cultural field trips Belyok members and their parents go on through the year. This time the kids made a long journey to the village of Barabash located in the Khasanskii district of Primorye where the salmon hatchery lay.

The Barabash salmon hatchery has produced juvenile salmon for more than 30 years, aiming to replenish populations of the chum salmon. The facility also conducts awareness-raising activities, teaching the public about restoring populations of salmonids and providing guests with an insight into its operation – and the Belyok members have been no exception.

During the educational tour of the facility the children learned what caused a decrease in salmon numbers and why salmon hatcheries were so important for preserving these fish species. They visited working areas of the hatchery where they were told about how hatchery staff extracted, fertilized, and incubated eggs of the chum salmon until fry emerged, and how the fry were reared to a more viable stage.

“The most exciting moment of our field trip was the release of chum salmon fry into the Barabashevka river,” said Tatyana Chernykh, Principal Specialist of the Education Department at the Primorsky Aquarium and Head of the Belyok.  “The kids put the fry in the water very carefully, knowing that the fish were setting off on a long journey to the sea and then to the ocean to return for spawning in four years.”

Primorsky Aquarium educators intend to continue their efforts to enhance eco-literacy in the younger generation. Participation in such events helps to foster respect for and stewardship of all living things not only in children but in adults as well.