Fish friends is an education program on fish and conservation for elementary grades managed by the New Brunswick Salmon Council. It provides a fun, hands-on program on Atlantic salmon and trout with a great curriculum guide for teachers. Students see young Atlantic salmon and brook trout hatch from eggs and grow to fry before being released into streams. It is a great hands-on experience with raising wild fish.
Fish Friends includes classroom activities, outdoor activities, instructions for incubation and connected activities, interesting and sometimes funny fact sheets,and a useful resources section complete with names and numbers of community groups. A central component of the package is the incubation of salmon eggs in the classroom. Each class is provided with a large aquarium and accessories, a cooling unit, and fertilized fish eggs. Local industries and conservation groups sponsor the program.
The Miramichi Salmon Association, through the Miramichi Salmon Conservation Centre, provides eggs to schools in the Miramichi region and eastern New Brunswick. Upon emergence and swim-up in the spring, students, parents and teachers can make a field trip to release the young fish in a local stream or hatchery.
Long time MSA members Bonnie Wright and Betty Ward took over in the Miramichi Watershed from the late Bruce Whipple who was at the helm for 20 years. Bonnie visits schools and provides support and expertise to any teachers needing help with the program.
Fish Friends was developed under the Atlantic Salmon Federation’s Education and Public Awareness Program (EPAP). The EPAP program promotes grassroots participation in restoring the clean waters and abundant recreational fish stocks of Atlantic Canada. The audience for the program is everyone, but specifically young people, native communities, community groups and in particular, schools.