Thousands of fingerlings, about an inch in size, entered two 4,500-litre rearing-like tanks at Vale’s Copper Cliff Greenhouse almost a year ago.
It’s where they were joyfully raised for 10 months by Vale staff, fed pelletized food, carefully having the water parameters in their tank monitored to make sure the water is being filtered.
“We want to make sure they’re happy in there,” said Quentin Smith, environmental engineer with Vale. Those fingerlings have now matured into healthy brook trout. Some of them have grown to 10-inches long. They’re ready for release into their natural environment.
“We have a size that we know if we release them when they’re too small the mortality increases, and so there’s certain maturity levels that we’re looking for,” Smith said.Those maturity levels are fish that are four to five inches long.
“The larger they are after that, the better,” Smith said. “But we know they’ll do better once they get past that first maturity threshold.”
On Friday, about 3,000 of the primed brook trout were transported from the greenhouse into tanks, which had oxygen being pumped into them, placed in the back of a couple four-by-four trucks, and driven down some icy, remote and rough roads to Broder 23 Lake, located south of Kivi Park along Raft Lake Road.
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