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Subject: FN0536-Salmon: Fraser River Sockeye Update - July 31 - Areas 11 to 29
The Fraser River Panel met today to examine biological and other assessment
data on Fraser River sockeye salmon. In general, test fishing catches in marine
and Fraser River assessment areas have continued to indicate a very low
migration of sockeye salmon thus far this season. Estimates of Fraser River
sockeye escapement past Mission and observations of sockeye passing Hells Gate
similarly have also been very low.
The proportion of five year old sockeye in test-fishing catches to-date
continue to be much higher than forecast and is another factor that suggests
extreme weakness in the return of some four year old Fraser sockeye stocks,
which were expected to comprise most of the total Fraser sockeye production in
2007. Although the possibility of later than expected marine migration timing
of Fraser sockeye cannot be ruled out, assessments of Early Stuart, Lake
Washington and Somass River sockeye do not suggest that their migration timing
is significantly later than average. Total escapement past Mission for the
four day period July 27 through July 30 totalled about 22,000. For the same
period the escapement would total 80,000 if the runs were returning at the 75p
level forecast 3.6 million (Early Summers = 389,000, Summers = 1.971 million
and Lates = 1.213 million) and normal timing.
The marine migration of Early Stuart sockeye is complete and there is no change
from the in-season estimate of 13,000 adopted Friday July 27. The total catch
and escapement to date of Early Summer run is 15,400. At todays meeting, the
Panel agreed that it is unlikely that Early Summer run size will reach 389,000
Migration conditions for sockeye in the Fraser River are presently
satisfactory. River discharge levels continue to drop steadily and are forecast
to drop further from about 5,500 cms July 30 to 4,600 cms by August 8, which
would be 800 cms higher than average. River water temperature at Qualark Creek
was 17.3 0C for July 30 and is forecasted to increase to 18.3 0C by August 3,
which is well within the range normally observed at this time of year. Fraser
River water temperatures exceeding 18 0C may have an adverse impact on the
upstream migration of sockeye salmon.
Food, ceremonial and social fisheries (FSC) for First Nations targeting Fraser
River sockeye are open in Marine waters, however, given the low sockeye
abundance harvesting effort to date has been very low. There are limited FSC
fisheries in the Fraser River currently open. Duration of FSC fisheries in the
Fraser River are reduced given the low abundance of Fraser River sockeye
observed to date. Consultation meetings are underway this week to discuss
fishing options for next week.
Recreational fisheries for Fraser River sockeye in South Coast marine waters
and tidal portion of the Fraser are non-retention and there is no fishing for
sockeye in non-tidal waters of the Fraser River.
No commercial fisheries are planned at this time.
The Panel will meet again on Friday August 3 to evaluate the status of the
Fraser River sockeye salmon runs and to consider regulatory actions.
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