SUDBURY, April 19, 2012 – Lately, there have been more than just seedlings growing in Vale’s surface greenhouse in Copper Cliff.
In November 2011, Vale’s Environment Department initiated a pilot project to raise rainbow trout for stocking in Sudbury area lakes and rivers. Rainbow trout fingerlings were placed in two 1,500 litre tanks in Vale’s surface greenhouse.
Vale consulted with local fish farming expert Mike Meeker of Meeker’s Aquaculture on Manitoulin Island in order to set up the operation and define the operating procedures. Vale also worked with the local office of the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) to choose an appropriate water body in which to release the Rainbow Trout.
After five months of feeding and caring, the fish grew to approximately 20 centimetres long, and were transported to the Onaping River for stocking. This location was favoured by Vale due to historical mining impacts on the river system.
“We are very proud of this project and its successful outcome,” said Glen Watson of Vale’s Environment group. “The fish will provide a boost to the river’s fish population and biodiversity, providing a highly valued resource for the community to enjoy.”
With this project complete, Vale plans to run a similar operation at its underground greenhouse at Creighton Mine.
As an added benefit underground, Vale aims to replace chemical fertilizers currently used for tree seedlings with a natural waste fertilizer provided by the fish, thereby creating a unique sustainable fish and tree growing operation. Vale will also continue to raise Rainbow Trout at the surface greenhouse.
“The Ministry of Natural Resources is pleased to assist Vale with fish stocking expertise from staff in the Sudbury District,” said Lindsay Munroe, Acting Marketing and Communications Specialist, MNR Northeast Region. “Fish stocking and fisheries management is important economically, supporting the sport fishing and tourism industries as well as commercial fishing, providing a source of pleasure to the many people who watch fish and marvel at nature.”
Vale will continue to work with the MNR and local fish and game clubs in order to choose donor sites that will allow the community to enjoy this natural resource. The addition of fish to local lakes also helps to fulfill the goals of Sudbury’s Biodiversity Action Plan by increasing fish populations in formerly stressed lakes and rivers.
Manager, Corporate Affairs
Vale, Ontario Operations