Fishery Notice

Category(s):
ABORIGINAL - General Information
COMMERCIAL - Salmon: Gill Net
COMMERCIAL - Salmon: Seine
COMMERCIAL - Salmon: Troll
RECREATIONAL - Salmon
Subject:
FN0837-Salmon - Fraser River Sockeye and Pink Update - Areas 11 to 29 - August 11, 2015


The Fraser River Panel met Thursday, August 11th, to receive an update on the 
migration of the Fraser sockeye and pink runs to date and review the status of 
migration conditions within the Fraser River watershed.

The migration of sockeye through the marine approach areas as well as into the 
Fraser River has declined in recent days with the majority being Summer run 
stocks. Early Summer and Late run stocks make up the remainder of the return at 
this time. Test fishery catches of sockeye in both marine assessment areas and 
in the Fraser River are fluctuating but at much lower levels than expected at 
this time of year. Estimates of Mission passage are in the range of 40,000-
60,000 sockeye per day. Observations at Hells Gate indicate an increase in the 
movement of sockeye in recent days. 

The most recent DNA samples taken in the marine seine test fisheries show 
sockeye stock compositions of 10 to 25% Early Summers, 75 to 85% Summer runs 
and 1 to 19% Late run stocks depending upon the approach area, with more Lates 
in Juan de Fuca. At this time the 5 day average diversion rate through 
Johnstone Strait is estimated to be 63%.

Early Summer run sockeye have been declining in marine and in-river test 
fishery samples in recent weeks, but not as quickly as anticipated, likely due 
to lower than expected Summer and Late run abundance. During the Panel call 
today, the run size for Early Summer sockeye was further reduced to 350,000 
fish with an associated run timing of July 29th in Area 20. This is largely due 
to the apparent weakness in the later component of this run timing aggregate 
(Early South Thompson). The number of Early Summer run sockeye estimated to 
have passed Mission through August 10th is 254,000 fish of which less than 
30,000 are estimated to be Early Thompson populations.

Due to the continuing lack of abundance of Summer run stocks the Fraser Panel 
also reduced the run size of Summer run stocks today to the p10 forecast of 1.7 
million which is considerably lower than the p50 forecast of 4.675 million 
fish. The Panel noted that there is a possibility that the run size may be 
further reduced on Friday. The number of Summer run sockeye estimated to have 
passed Mission through August 10th is 418,400 fish.

At this time it is too early to provide an update on the run strength of Late 
run sockeye although very few have been observed to date. The number of Late 
run sockeye estimated to have passed Mission through August 10th is less than 
5,000.

On August 10th, the Fraser River water discharge at Hope was 2,558 cms, which 
is approximately 31% below average for this date. The temperature of the Fraser 
River at Qualark Creek on August 10th was 19.2°C, which is 1.0°C above average 
for this date. The river discharge level is forecast to drop to 2,364 cms by 
August 16th while water temperatures are forecast to increase to 20.4°C for the 
same date. It should be noted that there is considerable uncertainty in the 
temperature forecasts as weather predictions are highly uncertain. After 
reviewing environmental and stock assessment information, there were no further 
changes to the management adjustment factors for any of the run timing groups 
today. Management adjustments are additional fish that are removed from 
identified harvest levels and allowed to escape upstream in an attempt to 
assist in achievement of escapement objectives for the different run timing 
groups.

At this time it is too early to assess the return of Fraser pink salmon. Recent 
test fishery catches in the marine approach areas have had lower abundances of 
pink salmon than a week ago although the proportion of Fraser pinks has 
increased to 37% in Area 20. Run size and timing updates for Fraser pinks will 
likely begin in mid to late August.

First Nations food, social and ceremonial (FSC) sockeye fisheries that are 
currently underway in marine areas will be closed to sockeye retention on 
Wednesday, August 12th at 23:59hrs. All FSC fisheries have been planned in a 
cautious manner to date based on the Early Summer run size reductions in recent 
weeks. First Nations FSC sockeye directed fisheries in the lower Fraser River 
area will close as scheduled by Thursday, August 13. First Nations FSC sockeye 
directed fisheries in BC Interior areas will be closing in an orderly manner 
over the coming weeks as many areas have just opened to sockeye retention in 
recent days. In the Sawmill Creek to Kelly Creek area the current opening will  
now end on Thursday, August 13 at 23:59hrs which is earlier than currently 
scheduled due to conservation concerns for Summer run sockeye. Areas upstream 
of Kelly Creek will remain open at this time.

Fishers are requested to check for the opening times and any restrictions in 
their local area. There are no planned commercial or recreational fisheries on 
sockeye at this time.

The second upstream escapement report was release by DFO last week. 
Observations of Early Stuart sockeye in the spawning areas indicate that 
sockeye are present in a number of spawning areas and in good condition. Water 
levels and temperatures are normal for this time of year. In addition, the 
counting fence at Sweltzer Creek (Cultus) has been in place since July 20th 
with no fish observed to date.

The next in-season meeting of the Fraser River Panel is scheduled to occur on 
Friday, August 14th, 2015.


FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Jennifer Nener 604-666-6478






Fisheries & Oceans Operations Center - FN0837
Sent August 11, 2015 at 1605