Southern Okanagan Lake residents may see an unusual sight over the next weeks – commercial-sized fishery vessels and processing barges moving from their usual moorage outside Vernon to Squally Point area near Peachland.
The vessels are part of a provincial study of the experimental freshwater shrimp fishery established in the northern part of Okanagan Lake. The fishery was created in 2000 to help recover the Okanagan Lake Kokanee population as the shrimp, or Mysis diluviana, is known to compete with Kokanee for food.
The province believes the shrimp population may be shifting to southerly parts of the lake and will be conducting experimental hauls to collect data for approximately two weeks.
Two companies harvest the shrimp for use in pet food, nutraceuticals and cosmetics. The annual harvest of freshwater shrimp takes place between May and October and has averaged 40 metric tons a year between 2000 and 2010.
Freshwater anglers spend $480 million every year on fishing equipment, travel and accommodations and hospitality services, supporting 7,500 direct jobs.