In recent letters to the editor it has been suggested that trappers have set traps around Chapman Creek Hatchery and Chapman Creek, for the purpose of trapping otters that were preying on released and spawning salmon. It was also suggested that because of this, the safety of visiting students could be at risk.
No traps are currently set in or around the hatchery. The one trapper on the Sunshine Coast who is licensed to trap at this time of year has confirmed he has no traps set in the area.
In the past when it was necessary to set traps around the hatchery live traps were used. They were placed in areas not accessible to the public and any trapped otters were then relocated. This has not been necessary for several years and this type of trapping is only done in consultation with the local conservation office, the Ministry of Environment and a certified trapper.
The letters also suggest that the traps have been set to protect both spawning and released salmon from being fed on by otters and other wildlife. Otters certainly do feed on spawning salmon. However, anglers, hatchery staff and volunteers report that no significant numbers of otters have been seen in the Chapman Creek area near the hatchery this fall, and are of little or no concern. No salmon are currently being released into Chapman Creek, so none are at risk of otter predation. At this time of year, the hatchery is collecting eggs to incubate that will provide the next generation of salmon to be released next year.
Sunshine Coast Salmonid Society