Homalco Taggares Hatchery, Orford Bay
The Homalco Peoples have been fishing in our bountiful waters since time immemorial. Traditionally, we travelled with the seasons according to the resources in our territories and we shared these resources with our neighbours. We know of the importance of healthy salmon runs and that healthy salmon means a healthy coastal ecosystem. We are committed to the ongoing stewardship of fisheries. We have a number of current and planned projects to continue this work.
We have operated a Salmon Hatchery in Orford Bay for more than 30 years. We have plans to expand salmon enhancement activities to the Homathko and Southgate systems. We are working with DFO to conduct salmon stock assessments on these rivers. We want to see the healthy and abundant return of salmon throughout our traditional territory.
The Homalco Taggares Hatchery is located in Orford Bay. The Orford River originates in the glacial headwaters of the Coast Mountain Range, and flows south-westerly for about 31 kilometres before discharging in Orford Bay. Salmon are restricted to a small section of the total drainage of the steep impassable waterfall close to the river mouth.
Logging practices, combined with landslides, have reduced the productive capacity of this salmon habitat area. That’s why, in the early 1990’s, Homalco began a Salmon Enhancement Program in Orford Bay under the leadership of Chief Richard Harry. With support from DFO and employment and training programs, Homalco began construction of the Homalco Hatchery.
Homalco’s efforts helped increase both chum and coho production in the Orford River. In the mid-1990’s, the late Peter J. Taggeres, a wealthy farmer from Washington State, donated over $2.5 million to the Homalco First Nation to make significant infrastructure improvements to the hatchery. His donation of both money and time is viewed by the Homalco Nation as one of the most heartfelt gestures of kindness ever received.To honour his contribution and his friendship, the Homalco Hatchery was renamed the Homalco Taggeres Hatchery.
The healthy and abundant return of Coho and Chum to the Orford River resulted in a very healthy grizzly bear population. This created an opportunity for economic and cultural growth, through the establishment of Homalco Wildlife Tours. Today, the hatchery has grown to a large operation that can support up to 3.5 million chum fry each year.