Fisheries and stewardship

Lake Sturgeon Stewardship & Enhancement Program

We initiated the Lake Sturgeon Stewardship & Enhancement Program as a commitment to maintain and enhance Lake Sturgeon populations in areas affected by our operations.

Our report, Lake Sturgeon in Manitoba – A Summary of Current Knowledge (PDF, 1.6 MB), summarizes what is known about Lake Sturgeon, such as the most recent population and ecology information.

The program contributes to the recovery of Lake Sturgeon in Manitoba by:

  • determining Lake Sturgeon population status throughout areas affected by our operations, and identifying factors that may be limiting the populations:
    • completing inventories of Lake Sturgeon populations;
    • assessing the habitat available in the Winnipeg and Nelson rivers.
  • funding and conducting Lake Sturgeon research in Manitoba and at hydroelectric facilities:
  • minimizing the effects of facilities on Lake Sturgeon populations:
    • investigating opportunities to minimize the effects of new facilities;
    • reviewing existing facilities and investigating opportunities to reduce effects of existing facilities.
  • participating in the management and recovery of existing stocks by promoting education and community participation through sturgeon management boards:
  • educating the public and raising awareness:
    • maintaining sturgeon aquarium at 360 Portage in the customer payment centre;
    • working with government, First Nations, and other stakeholders to increase awareness about the sensitivity and importance of Lake Sturgeon.

Grand Rapids Fish Hatchery

The Grand Rapids Fish Hatchery became a part of Manitoba Hydro in 2007. The Hatchery strives to contribute to fish recovery efforts, facilitate research, and educate the public. Our facility includes a research centre and visitor centre, and is currently undergoing upgrades to increase capacity.

Every year, Grand Rapids Fish Hatchery coordinates with other stakeholders to collect fish eggs in northern Manitoba between late May and early June. The Hatchery rears 2 species of fish: walleye and sturgeon.

Walleye eggs are received and incubated from the spawn collection camp at Vermillion River near Southern Indian Lake and from the Saskatchewan River. Walleye fry are later stocked back into the populations they were collected from in support of fisheries in those areas.

As part of our Lake Sturgeon Stewardship & Enhancement Program, Lake Sturgeon eggs are collected from the Nelson and Burntwood rivers and brought back to the Hatchery for grow-out. These sturgeon are then stocked as larvae, fingerlings, or yearlings into their native waterways to support populations in the area.

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Sturgeon Management

The Nelson River Sturgeon Board actively manages the sturgeon population through activities such as tagging the fish and recording data on age, length, & weight, and collecting spawn for breeding and re-stocking. Manitoba Hydro participates on the Nelson River Sturgeon Board with the provincial government, 4 Northern Affairs communities, and 3 First Nations communities.

Play video: Sturgeon Management. (2:35)

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Sturgeon Conservation Aquaculture

Each spring, the Nelson River Sturgeon Board collects eggs from adult sturgeon in the Nelson River and sends them to the Grand Rapids Fish Hatchery for grow-out. Some sturgeon are also raised at a stream-side hatchery at Jenpeg which is run by the Board. Lake Sturgeon are stocked as larvae, fingerlings and yearlings at various locations along the upper Nelson River.

Play video: Sturgeon Spawn Release. (3:57)