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Osoyoos Lake sees historic sockeye salmon harvest

Click to play video: 'Record-setting sockeye salmon harvest'
Record-setting sockeye salmon harvest
WATCH: The Okanagan Nation Alliance is reporting the largest run of sockeye salmon in decades in Osoyoos Lake. Roughly 60,000 sockeye were harvested, with about 10,000 of them going to local First Nations bands. – Sep 2, 2022

The Okanagan Nation Alliance is reporting the most successful sockeye salmon harvest in decades out of Osoyoos Lake.

“We’ve benefitted this year with what’s estimated to probably be closer to 60,000 sockeye,” said ONA senior biologist, Richard Bussanich.

“This will be the largest total run to the Okanagan in current history from 1938 onwards.”

Read more: RDCO hosts kokanee salmon spawn celebration

The Okanagan Nation Alliance was formed in 1981, as the first Indigenous government in the Okanagan which represents the eight member communities including Okanagan Indian Band, Upper Nicola Band, Westbank First Nation, Penticton Indian Band, Osoyoos Indian Band and Lower and Upper Similkameen Indian Bands and the Colville Confederated Tribes on areas of common concern.

They’re committed to restoring Indigenous food systems, so over 10,000 sockeye will be delivered to local First Nations groups.

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“That’s 100,000 portions of food for our members, and that’s absolutely critical for feeding single moms, elders and other folks, so Osoyoos Lake is definitely on the radar within B.C.,” explained Bussanich.

Indigenous groups who receive the sockeye from the ONA will typically use the fish for ceremonies, traditional trade and food. Bussanich says this is most importantly about truth and reconciliation.

Read more: Woeful Fraser River sockeye run renews fish farm debate

“The other great thing is showcasing this community as well as other First Nations, that First Nations actually can make a difference,” said Bussanich.

“Not only economically but through the culture and other practices on how these types of fisheries could be managed moving forward as in the past.”

Bussanich added that an increase in salmon is also being seen in other areas within the province.

The Okanagan Select Salmon store in West Kelowna offers a variety of different salmon products like fresh, smoked, canned and candied salmon. You can visit their store at 101-3535 Old Okanagan Highway, or their website by clicking here.

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