Established by Mark Hobson in partnership with the Department of Fisheries and Ocean, the hatchery is home to one of the first on-campus high school fish hatchery programs in British Columbia. Students are given the opportunity to engage hands-on with the life cycle of the salmon, capturing adult salmon, harvesting and fertilizing their eggs, and helping them grow before releasing them to begin their perilous journey back to the ocean. Thanks to the hatchery, countless Shawnigan students have learned about the economic, cultural, and ecological value of these amazing fish.

Hatchery News

List of 3 news stories.

  • Hatchery Helps Make a Difference

    In addition to teaching students at Shawnigan about conservation, environmental stewardship, the salmon life cycle, and the importance of salmon to our part of the world, the School’s Mark Hobson Hatchery is contributing to the growth of the salmon run in Shawnigan Creek.
    This year marked the fourth year in a row that the Mill Bay and District Conservation Society has transported a record number of fish past the falls so they can spawn in the upper reaches of the creek. The society moved 985 coho salmon this year, surpassing expectations in a year when other streams on southern Vancouver Island saw low returns. Fish return to spawn every three years, so it is important to note that three years ago, 404 fish returned. Three years before that, the number was around 200, and three years before that, just five fish came back to spawn in Shawnigan Creek.
    Some of the fish that came back to spawn in Shawnigan Creek this year would have been released from the School’s hatchery three years ago.
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  • Hatchery Experience Is a Net Win for Students

    Shawnigan students have been doing their part recently to ensure the survival of another generation of coho salmon with their work in the School’s own Mark Hobson Hatchery.
    After first catching mature fish for broodstock after they returned to spawn in Shawnigan Creek, students — and some adventurous staff members — had the opportunity to take eggs and milt (sperm) from the fish, beginning the process that will eventually lead to the release of young fish to begin the cycle once again.

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  • Return to the Wild

    The time came last week for thousands of fish raised in Shawnigan’s Mark Hobson Hatchery to be released into the wild.
    Months after they were propagated from fish caught in nearby Shawnigan Creek, more than 5,000 coho salmon fry were released into Hartl Creek, which cuts across campus, by students from Science 9 and Environmental Science 11 and 12 classes. Since last fall, the tiny fish have been growing under the watchful eye of those students until they were ready for freedom.
    The eggs that were fertilized last fall hatched into alevin — a phase where they are still carrying yolk —  then grew into fry in March, at which point they were transferred into larger tanks, a process known as “ponding.” Once in those tanks, the fry needed to be fed. This year, the School tried a different process, feeding the fish by hand, which seemed to work well as the fry grew strong and healthy. Despite a couple of setbacks in the form of pump failures, the hatchery still produced several thousand fry to help replenish the wild population.
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We acknowledge with respect the Coast Salish Peoples on whose traditional lands and waterways we live, learn and play. We are grateful for the opportunity to share in this beautiful region, and we aspire to healthy and respectful relationships with those who have lived on and cared for these lands for millennia.