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New Atlantic Salmon hatchery opens at Darlington

​Dozens of elementary students congregated at the Darlington Information Centre in February to meet a batch of tiny Atlantic salmon eggs they will study and nurture.

The Grades 5 and 6 students from St. Joseph and St. Michael elementary schools in Cobourg are currently tracking the progress of the 100 eggs as they hatch and grow into small fry. On April 23, the students will work with the Ganaraska Region Conservation Authority to clean up Cobourg Creek, where they will release the little hatchlings in late spring.

The all-new hatchery at the Darlington site is part of the Classroom Hatchery Education program run by the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (OFAH), which supports the Lake Ontario Atlantic Salmon Restoration Program, also known as Bring Back the Salmon. OPG is the lead sponsor of Bring Back the Salmon, a partnership that includes OFAH, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, and other organizations.

For the past eight years, OPG and OFAH have also supported a hatchery at Pickering Nuclear. Along with monitoring the eggs, the three-tiered program emphasizes hands-on learning about habitat restoration and responsible environmental stewardship.

Launched in 2006, Bring Back the Salmon seeks to restore a self-sustaining Atlantic salmon population to Lake Ontario and its streams. As lead sponsor of the program since 2011, OPG has helped stock more than seven million Atlantic salmon in Lake Ontario and four target tributaries (Credit River, Duffins Creek, Cobourg Creek, and Ganaraska River).

Fast facts

  • Atlantic salmon is a cold-water fish native to Ontario
  • The fish settled in Lake Ontario about 12,000 years ago
  • They were declared locally extinct in 1896 due to human activities