Skip to content

More than 2K coho fry dead at Port Coquitlam hatchery

“We don’t know what did this," a frustrated Terry Sawchenko, manager of Port Coquitlam's Hyde Creek hatchery, told the Tri-City News.

Officials with Fisheries and Oceans Canada, as well as the City of Port Coquitlam, are investigating a major fish kill last week at the Hyde Creek hatchery.

Today, April 29, hatchery manager Terry Sawchenko told the Tri-City News that a volunteer last Thursday, April 25, found a large number of dying and dead fish during his morning check.

It’s believed a blue-colour substance from the creek, of which the water feeds the hatchery tanks and ponds, killed more than 2,300 coho fry in the trough tanks and about 70 coho smolts in the pond off Coast Meridian Road.

The tank deaths represent about 20 per cent of the hatchery’s coho fry stock.

“We don’t know what did this,” Sawchenko said, noting the tanks are now drawing well water.

“It’s really frustrating because we don’t know where it came from or who did this. It’s a real mess. It also creates a lot of extra work for us.”

Water samples will soon be analyzed by federal officers, he said.

Still, Sawchenko said the hatchery is fortunate as the chum had already been released.

He said the best protection the hatchery has is education and citizen reporting.

In the past, north Port Coquitlam and Burke Mountain residents have alerted the Hyde Creek Watershed Society and FOC about discolouration and possible poison in the fish-bearing creek.

“We rely upon the public in order to find out what’s happening to the creek. We are very appreciative of the reports coming in.”

In March 2022, dozens of fish were killed in Hyde Creek after a toxic substance was poured into a storm drain in the Lincoln Drive area.

Three months later, a spill near the hatchery killed about 334 coho fry and 57 smolts.

City responds

In a statement, PoCo's public works manager Dave Kidd said the city was made aware of the fish kill last Thursday morning.

As a result, environmental consultants were brought in to test the water quality and assess Hyde Creek for additional fish mortality; however, none was found.

As well, water quality results didn't show pollution was still present in the watercourse.

"It’s likely that whatever caused the fish kill passed through the system fairly quickly with the rains we experienced," Kidd told the Tri-City News.

"Unfortunately, this also means that locating a source of contamination is extremely difficult."

Still, the consultants believe the cause could be an alkaline material like concrete contact water or hypochlorite from a pool or hot tub cleaning, or patio defouling, which can quickly change the pH levels in the creek. There are several of properties in the neighbourhood with swimming pools.

"It is critically important that these types of materials do not enter city storm drains, as each storm drain eventually leads to a salmon-bearing stream," Kidd said.

The Report All Poachers and Polluters (RAPP) hotline is free and open 24/7 to call in suspected violations of fisheries, wildlife or environmental protection laws:


Salmon-related violations should be reported to Fisheries and Oceans Canada at 1-800-465-4336.

Port Coquitlam residents can also notify the municipality at