by Jessica Gideon

Did you know that a female salmon can lay anywhere between 3,000-20,000 eggs!!??! That may seem like a lot, but out of all these eggs, on average, only 2 will survive the difficult task of avoiding hungry predators, the migration out to the ocean, and the return to their natal river as spawners.

Yesterday, Denny and I finished the setup of the last aquarium that will kick off the project, Fish Friends, in our community’s education centers, L.M.D.C and A.G.S.  Fish Friends is a great interactive educational program that involves the classroom incubation of Atlantic salmon eyed-eggs and the care of these delicate eggs as they hatch and develop into alevin, fry, and then parr- at which point they will be released into the Eel river.

Over the next two months, myself and Denny, along with our volunteer, Roland Lavallee, will be going into the classrooms, periodically, to teach the students about the Atlantic salmon’s behaviors, migratory route, habitat and the importance of healthy waters for the survival of the species, and to share in the salmon’s cultural significance to us as Mi’gmaq through stories and legends.

Each year, I look forward to the excitement and curiosity the Fish Friends program brings to each student’s face, and this year is no different.  The students truly love having their own little Atlantic salmon to care for, and I hope this sparks further enthusiasm for the respect, care and stewardship for our lands and waters.