Fishery Notice

ABORIGINAL - General Information
COMMERCIAL - Salmon: Gill Net
COMMERCIAL - Salmon: Seine
COMMERCIAL - Salmon: Troll
FN0830-Salmon - Fraser River Sockeye Update - Areas 11 to 29 - August 14, 2020

The Fraser River Panel met Friday, August 14, to receive an update on the migration of the Fraser Sockeye runs to date and review the status of migration conditions in the Fraser River watershed.	

In November 2018 a rock landslide occurred at Big Bar in the Fraser River upstream of Lillooet. In 2019 this slide was a significant impediment to upstream migration for Sockeye, Chinook and Coho destined for spawning habitats upstream of the slide. Significant work has occurred over the past several months to improve passage for fish combined with assessment programs to evaluate passage success as well as brood stock collection for enhancement purposes. During recent days as water levels have dropped observations of natural passage have occurred. Additional information and regular updates on passage can be found at the following link.

Gill net test fishing Sockeye catches in the Fraser River at Whonnock have improved over the last few days with daily catches of 4 and 7 on August 12 and 13, respectively. Catches in the Qualark test fishery continue to be higher than Whonnock with recent daily catches of 25 and 27 on August 11 and 12, respectively. A limited number of DNA samples from the Whonnock test fishery from August 10-11 indicate that approximately 13% are Early Summer run stocks, 79% are Summer run stocks and 8% are Late run stocks. Samples from the Qualark test fishery from August 8 to 10 were comprised of 9% Early Summer run stocks, 91% Summer run stocks and 0% Late run stocks. The in-season annual average diversion rate through Johnstone Strait is 24%.

The total Sockeye escapement to August 13 is estimated to be 184,800 of which 13,300 are Early Stuart Sockeye, 59,100 are Early Summer run stocks, 106,000 are Summer run stocks and 6,400 Late run stocks. During the Panel call today no changes were made to the current run sizes for the four management groups. Currently the total return of Fraser Sockeye in 2020 is estimated to be approximately 283,000 fish or fewer, which would be a record low return for all cycles.

The observed water temperature at Qualark on August 13 was 16.6° Celsius which is 1.4° Celsius below average for this date. Water temperatures are forecast to increase to 18.9° Celsius by August 19. The Fraser River discharge at Hope on August 13 was 4,013 cubic meters per second which is 15% above the average discharge for this date. Discharge levels are forecast to decrease to 3,424 cubic meters per second by August 19.

Currently, all First Nations food, social and ceremonial (FSC) Sockeye fisheries are closed and will likely remain that way for the duration of the 2020 season as there is no available TAC. Very limited fishing opportunities directed at Chinook salmon continue to occur with Sockeye non-retention regulations in place as well as the requirement to attend nets at all times so Sockeye can be released alive and unharmed. FSC fishers in marine approach areas as well as the Fraser River are requested to check for the opening times and any restrictions in their local area. Commercial and recreational fisheries are not anticipated on Fraser River Sockeye in 2020. 

The third in-season update on Fraser Sockeye spawning escapement was released by DFO stock assessment on August 13. No Sockeye have been observed in Early Stuart spawning tributaries or in the Stellako, Nadina or Chilko Rivers to date. The hydro-acoustics program in the upper Chilliwack River estimates that 17,756 Sockeye have entered the river as of August 11. The Scotch Creek counting fence has been operational since August 7 with no Sockeye enumerated to date. Two Sockeye have been observed in the creek downstream from the fence. In addition the counting fence on Swelzter Creek (Cultus) was installed on July 27 and to date 3 Sockeye has been enumerated into Cultus Lake.

The next in-season meeting of the Fraser River Panel is scheduled to occur on Tuesday, August 18, 2020.


Regional Salmon Team - DFO Pacific

Fisheries & Oceans Operations Center - FN0830
Sent August 14, 2020 at 1249