© Heather Taweel
SCOTCHFORT — A new initiative of the Abegweit First Nation hopes to help replenish trout and salmon stocks in P.E.I. waterways.
Aboriginal Islanders and leaders gathered for the official opening Friday of the Biodiversity Enhancement Hatchery on the Scotchfort reserve. It will serve to hatch trout and salmon, which will then be released in a number of rivers and streams across the Island.
Chief Brian Francis said this initiative is positive for the community and was a natural choice for the band, which has long promoted sustainable watershed projects.
“I believe it has the potential for being a successful long-term project,” Francis said.
The hatchery will begin raise and release 40,000 speckled trout and 100,000 Atlantic salmon in its first year with plans for expansion in the future. T
The complex was constructed after the Abegweit First Nation successfully responded to an expression of interest issued by the province to provide re-stocking services for Island rivers and streams.
The band also celebrated the official opening of a new family resource centre in Scotchfort Friday.
It is a 3,200-foot addition to the Abegweit Community Centre. The Mi’kmaq Confederacy of P.E.I. Family PRIDE Program will utilize space in the facility to deliver their programs and services.
“A number of years ago we recognized the importance of having a sizable facility to provide family and youth programming for our community members,” Francis said.
“With this expansion we can now have space to provide programs and activities such as day camps, after school programs and homework clubs.”
The building is owned and will be operated by the Abegweit First Nation.
The project is being supported by ACOA’s Community Infrastructure Improvement Fund, the provincial Island Community Fund and Abegweit First Nation.
The hatchery project received financial and technical support from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, as well as Ulnooweg Business Development, P.E.I. Wildlife Federation and Abegweit First Nation.
National Chief Shawn Atleo and Regional Chief Roger Augustine attended the opening ceremonies and ribbon cuttings for the two new facilities in Scotchfort Friday.