Professional fishing guides Tyler Buck and Jay Gibson recently did their part to save an endangered sturgeon which was stranded after the flooding in the Fraser Valley.
The two are members of the Fraser Valley Angling Guides Association (FVAGA) which, in normal times, serves as a united voice for fishing professionals in the valley.
After the floods, the FVAGA flipped into rescue mode and have been working on a number of efforts to help the affected communities, as well as the watershed.
The organization's director, Kevin Estrada, tells Vancouver Is Awesome that they've been providing evacuation support for people, doing LifeLab deliveries, working as an emergency medical taxi service, as well as doing sandbagging and pump control.
They've also been working to clean up the local rivers and rescuing fish.
One in particular was a large, endangered Fraser River sturgeon which became stranded in a side channel near Herrling Island, between Chilliwack and Hope. It swam into the channel when the water was high, then when the level went down the fish couldn't escape.
Guides Buck and Gibson found the fish in eight inches of water, placed it in a sling and walked it two kilometres to the main stem of the river. Much of the time it was submerged in the water, but the pair had to do three large dry land crossings.
Estrada explains that the two "sampled" the fish, meaning they weighed it and took its measurements, as well as scanning it for and RFID chip — a device that is found in many sturgeon in the Fraser.
The RFID program is managed by the Fraser River Sturgeon Conservation Society, as a way of individually tracking the fish, and the overall health of the species.
Professional guides who provide catch and release sturgeon trips for clients use a special scanner to scan the head of the ones they catch. If it has been tagged in the past they are able to update its profile with the society, inputting its current measurements, the location it was caught, etc, so that scientists can use the data to track them.
This particular fish had been previously tagged, and measured 200 cm (six feet!) long by 81 cm around at the time they rescued it.
Estrada says it "swam away strong and healthy" when it was released.
The FVAGA is looking for monetary support to help them continue their work helping flood victims — human and scaled. They are asking that people send e-transfer donations to firstname.lastname@example.org.