Fishery Notice

ABORIGINAL - General Information
COMMERCIAL - Salmon: Gill Net
COMMERCIAL - Salmon: Seine
COMMERCIAL - Salmon: Troll
FN0777-Salmon - Sockeye - Areas 11 to 29 - Fraser River Sockeye Update - July 22, 2022

The Fraser River Panel met July 22, 2022, to receive an update on the migration of the Fraser Sockeye run to date and review the status of migration conditions in the Fraser River watershed. The marine gill net test fishery catches at Round Island have been low, while catches in Area 20 have been variable, with catches of 121, 115, and 30 on July 19, 20, and 21, respectively. The marine purse seine test fisheries in Areas 12, 13 and 20 are scheduled to commence on July 24, July 26 and July 25, respectively. Gill net test fishing catches in the Fraser River have been low and relatively flat since the last update, with an increase in the catches on July 21 to 52 and 41 at Brownsville Bar and Whonnock, respectively. 

The most recent DNA samples collected from the Area 12 and Area 20 gill net test fisheries on July 16 to 19, indicated that between 6% and 15% are Early Stuart Sockeye, between 49% and 85% are Early Summer run Sockeye, between 10% and 34% are Summer run Sockeye, and between 0 and 2% are Late run stocks.  While sample sizes were relatively small, recent DNA information from in-river test fisheries collected on July 17 to 20 indicated that between 29% and 51% are Early Stuart Sockeye and between 49% and 71% are Early Summer run stocks. The current 5-day average diversion rate through Johnstone Strait is 44%.

The total escapement estimate to July 21, 2022, is estimated to be 266,500, of which 213,300 are estimated to be Early Stuart Sockeye, 53,000 are estimated to be Early Summer run stocks, and 200 are estimated to be Summer run Sockeye. During the Panel call today there was no change to the previously adopted Early Stuart run size of 230,000, with an Area 20 peak timing of July 6 and a proportional difference between estimates (pDBE) of -0.93.  As a reminder, at this run size and management adjustment there is no TAC for Early Stuart Sockeye.  Discharge levels in the Fraser River remain well above average, but are beginning to drop with signs of Sockeye passage at Hell's Gate, and observations of some Sockeye passage to areas above the Fraser canyon.  There still remains concern for Sockeye survival for those early stocks migrating to the upper watershed given observations of dark and heavily coloured fish in areas below the Fraser canyon. In-season assessment of all run timing groups generally occurs shortly after identification of their peak migration through marine areas. 

With water discharge levels dropping, there has been a small increase in the number of total salmon observed passing the Churn Creek sonar site above the Big Bar Landslide.  Data from the sonar program suggests that, based on length information, a small proportion of the fish passing Churn Creek could be Sockeye. Until discharge levels drop to the point where there is unimpeded passage, the Big Bar Landslide in the Fraser River upstream of Lillooet, will continue to be an impediment to upstream migration for many Sockeye destined for spawning habitats upstream of the slide. Robust assessment programs to evaluate passage success, as well as mitigation measures such as fish transport and brood stock collection for enhancement purposes will continue for the 2022 season. Additional information can be found at the following link:

The observed water temperature at Qualark on July 21, 2022 was 15.6° Celsius which is 1.8° Celsius below average for this date. Water temperatures are forecast to increase to 17.7° Celsius by July 27. The Fraser River discharge at Hope on July 21 was 7,479 cubic meters per second which is 52% above the average discharge for this date. Discharge levels are forecast to drop to 6,901 cubic meters per second by July 27. Actual water temperatures and discharge levels will be monitored closely during the 2022 return to determine if migration issues develop. 

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 identified escapement objectives for the different run timing groups. For pre-season planning purposes, the Fraser Panel adopted management adjustments for Early Stuart based on the median for all years since 1995, Early Summer based on the historical all years median, Summer run Sockeye based on the pre-season 31-day temperature and discharge model, and Late run based on the dominant/other years median. The in-season approach to determining management adjustments will remain similar to pre-season for all management groups except for the Early Stuart, which will shift to the in-season Supplemental Approach based on all years since 1977. The Panel will continue to be provided and review the results from the historical temperature and discharge models, as well as observations of fish health throughout the watershed when making in-season decisions.

Currently, First Nations food, social and ceremonial (FSC) Sockeye fisheries are closed due a 4-week window closure to protect Early Stuart and the earlier-timed Early Summer run stocks. The same window closure is set to end in most marine areas where Fraser Sockeye may be present, however there is no available Sockeye total allowable catch (TAC) for First Nations FSC fisheries to harvest at this time. The start-up of Sockeye directed FSC fisheries is not anticipated until Fraser Sockeye TAC is identified, which will like be delayed until late July or early August in marine areas and early to mid-August in-river. Very limited fishing opportunities directed at Chinook salmon for ceremonial purposes have occurred to date with non-retention restrictions in place for Sockeye. 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 directed at Fraser Sockeye remain closed at this time. 

The next in-season meeting of the Fraser River Panel is scheduled to occur on July 26, 2022.


Regional Salmon Team - DFO Pacific

Fisheries & Oceans Operations Center - FN0777
Sent July 22, 2022 at 1422