Staff at a fish hatchery in B.C.’s East Kootenay are no longer having to fend off otters that were attacking and eating their fish, now that the animals have been relocated.
Last June, the Kootenay Trout Hatchery in in the Fort Steele area, outside of Cranbrook, reported that a group of pesky otters had devoured about 150 of the prized fish and attacked many others in the hatchery’s moat.
Manager Owen Schoenberger said three otters were trapped and relocated outside of the Kootenay watershed by conservation officers, after staff tried and failed to block some of the access to the moat and even installed barrier panels.
“We kept the injured fish in the back pond; they had some wounds and some scars,” he said. “We treated them with a special bath which was successful and we returned them to the moat. The fish are doing quite well now, and we’re well stocked especially after putting in extra yearlings.”
The otters haven’t been spotted at the hatchery since, Schoenberger said.
The facility has about 30 to 40 15-pound rainbow trout at present, as well as several hundred one- to two-pound rainbow trout. It’s run by the Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC, which owns and operates hatcheries in Duncan, Abbotsford, Summerland, Clearwater, Fort Steele and Vanderhoof.