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Champion of Coquitlam River salmon remembered for his community contributions

Norm Fletcher to be honoured for tireless efforts to restore salmon to the Coquitlam River
Norm Fletcher Tri-City News photo
Norm Fletcher at the Grist Goesen Memorial Hatchery on the Coquitlam River.

A prominent volunteer with Coquitlam’s biggest salmon hatchery has passed away, leaving behind a legacy of stewardship on the Coquitlam River.

This week, the Port Coquitlam and District Hunting and Fishing Club announced it “lost one of its most valued members” with the passing of Norm Fletcher.

Fletcher was, to many, a sage of salmon and a tireless volunteer with the Grist Goeson Memorial Hatchery, operated by the PCDHFC, and whose contributions helped to bring back coho and chum salmon on the river.

“Norm was instrumental in many aspects of the club, including advising on our major engineering projects, helping the club navigate our relations with the City and the Province, and foremost was for many years the face of conservation in the Coquitlam watershed, spearheading the growth of our Grist Goesen Memorial Hatchery,” the club stated on its website. 

“He advised us on multiple building projects as a professional engineer and he was well connected with the city and so helped us on renewal advice,” said president Keith Loh in an email to the Tri-City News

Fletcher was often called upon to talk about the 40-year-old hatchery and salmon runs to the Tri-City News, and he would take time to educate people about the importance of the iconic species.

In 2020, Fletcher was recognized by the City of Coquitlam as an environmental champion.

Scott Ducharme, a community advisor with Fisheries and Oceans Canada, said Fletcher worked “tirelessly” for the restoration of salmon on the Coquitlam River.

In addition to running the hatchery for many years, Fletcher participated in the Coquitlam River Watershed Roundtable Core Committee, a was a member of the BC Hydro’s Water Use Monitoring Committee and supported the Kwikwetlem Sockeye Restoration Program Committee chaired by BC Hydro. 

“All of these volunteer interests have required literally thousands of hours of thinking and planning and participating every year which he does despite having mobility issues,” noted Ducharme.

Ducharme also noted Fletcher’s “quick wit,” and ability to offer solutions “sometimes out of the box.”

“I could always count on asking for guidance and receiving back thoughtful, concise advice,” Ducharme added.

On its website, the club said members of Fletcher’s family continue to participate in club activities, including treasurer Jack Fletcher and grandson, Cameron Fletcher.

The club plans to coordinate “a suitable way of honouring” Fletcher’s memory in the coming days.