On September 13, members of the CCFPA (Central Coast Fisherman’s Protective Association) were presented with a 30-year plaque and memorial SEP pins at the home of Alan Mackay, one of the original members and a long time gillnet fisherman.
The presentation was made by DFO Community Advisor, Sandie MacLaurin, who she has had the pleasure to work with the group for many of those 30 years, and continues to be inspired by the dedication and hard work of the members. The plaque reads: “In Recognition of the CCFPA for thirty years of service and commitment to the preservation and enhancement of the salmonid resources of British Columbia”
The group was also recognized at the semi-annual Coho Festival at Snootli Hatchery on September 23. The executive Croydon Lansdowne, Darwin Unraau and Shirley Willson showed off the award, thanking DFO, the community and all their members past and present for continued support.
The CCFPA came together in 1983 to get involved with many aspects of the fishery resource. One of the first projects the group took on was conservation enhancement of fall chum salmon in the lower Bella Coola Valley, quickly followed by coho. The group started the project in the back yard of Eddie and Sandie Willson where they installed a small building (appropriately called “the Fish House”).
The Fish House had two more homes (one at the BC Hydro Clayton Falls site) and then ultimately was moved to Snootli Hatchery where water supply and alarm capability is more secure. Though incubation of CCFPA fish has moved to one of the other hatchery buildings the wee Fish House has been an important asset, being used during the Rivers and Smith Inlet sockeye enhancement project and for sockeye fin-clipping.
Over the years the CCFPA has contributed to the enhancement and release of many thousands of fall chum salmon and over four million coho. As well, they have accessed funds and volunteered to conduct juvenile and adult assessments such as the Atnarko Tower count and the coho adult mark/recapture on Thorsen Creek.
Recently, they took on a downstream trapping project to monitor out-migrating salmon after each of the 2010 and 2011 flood events. They have also participated in habitat enhancement projects such as the re-positioning of the culverts in Hagensborg Slough and establishment of fry passage fishways in the lower valley. The CCFPA are active in salmon education activities and are co-hosts of the semi-annual Coho Festival and Oceans Day events.
As one would expect, the original members were mostly local gillnet fishers lead by then Harbour Master Anne Hill but membership has broadened to include teachers, students, families, sport fishers and others who are interested salmon and their habitats. They are a small group but dedicated and hard working and always welcome new members! Contact Croydon Lansdowne, Darwin Unraau or Shirley Willson.
List of People at Award Presentation: Back row left to right: Darwin Unraau, Brad Koroluk, Brian Lande, Francis Phillips, Glenda Phillips, Shirley Willson. Seated row left to right: Mike Wigle, Sandie MacLaurin (DFO), Glen Mackay, Sandy Willson, Eddie Willson, Karl Osmers In front: Ewan, Breagha, Nicola and Katie Koroluk Folks missing from this picture: Cindy Evans, Croydon Lansdowne, Joe and Kaiko Stewart, Charlie Endicott, Ross Mikkelson.