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Commercial fishermen may be shut out as return projections plummet

Canwest News Service
Commercial and recreational fishermen may be shut out of this year's Fraser River sockeye salmon run because projections point to plummeting numbers. Well-below-average numbers are predicted for sockeye salmon returning to the Fraser River, Jeff Grout, Fisheries and Oceans Canada's region resource manager for salmon, said Friday. Grout is expecting 1.9 million to 2.9 million sockeye to return to spawn, considerably lower than the historical average of 4.4 million for the low year in the sockeye run's four-year cycle.

"There is certainly the possibility there won't be an opportunity there for a sockeye fishery for the commercial and recreational harvesters," he said. Low numbers last year also prompted fisheries officials to prohibit commercial and recreational fishing for Fraser sockeye. Concerns over these salmon come as a total closure of commercial and sport chinook salmon fisheries off California and most of Oregon was announced Thursday by the Seattle-based Pacific Fishery Management Council. "This is a disaster for West Coast salmon fisheries, under any standard," council chairman Don Hansen said. The decision follows what the council called an "unprecedented collapse" of Sacramento River fall chinook and the poor state of coho salmon from Oregon and Washington State. In B.C., fisheries managers will be monitoring the Fraser River run through test fisheries, which provide ongoing information on numbers of returning salmon. The first Fraser sockeye usually show up by late June or early July, peaking in early August, Grout said.

The Fisheries Department is expecting returns will be adequate to sustain the population, he said. The department anticipates there will be an opportunity for first nations to harvest Fraser sockeye for food, social and ceremonial purposes, he added. Commercial fishermen typically catch Fraser sockeye as they head home through Johnstone Strait and in the river itself. Irvin Figg, president of the United Fishermen and Allied Workers -CAW Union said he was prepared for the possibility of a closure, and that even when it is open, there's little money to be made in the low year of the sockeyes' four-cycle. "We expected this to be a poor year." Marilyn Murphy, executive director of the Sport Fishing Institute of B.C., said, "I'm on the edge of my seat," waiting for word on Fraser sockeye. In recent years, it has become more difficult to predict numbers of returning salmon and ocean survival has changed, Murphy said.

The more southern the distribution of salmon, the more challenges they have, Murphy said, adding that salmon stocks returning to northern waters are generally in better shape. However, while there are areas of concern for this year's returns of salmon along B.C.'s coast, she was optimistic that recreational fishermen will have some good opportunities this year, especially near hatcheries.

Craig Orr, executive director of the Watershed Watch Salmon Society, said the reasons for the low Fraser sockeye returns are not clear and urged B.C. to protect groundwater around salmon rivers and streams. Forecasts are often higher than the actual returns, he said from Terrace. "We could be looking at extremely low numbers. ... It is not a bright day for B.C." First nations members are concerned about whether there will be enough salmon for their uses, Orr said.

© Canwest News Service
 

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The head honchos at DFO have a history and a culture of ignoring all but the brightest of forecasts, and then when things turn sour, they act like it is a big surprise. Are any of you too young to remember when Canada had tghe greatest cod fishery in the world off the east coast?? :wallbash: :wallbash: :wallbash:
 

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The sockeye fishery most probably will collapse in the Fraser IMO. Would like to see this fishery closed like it used to be, too many anglers fighting amongst themselves over whose method is most ethical for catching sockeye. As far as the FN sockeye fishery it is their constitutional right but get rid of the drift nets and go back to traditional methods of set and dip nets. This is just my opinion.
 

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fisherforever said:
The sockeye fishery most probably will collapse in the Fraser IMO. Would like to see this fishery closed like it used to be, too many anglers fighting amongst themselves over whose method is most ethical for catching sockeye. As far as the FN sockeye fishery it is their constitutional right but get rid of the drift nets and go back to traditional methods of set and dip nets. This is just my opinion.
Just so you know drift nets are traditional!
Unfortunately for all parties a complete closure is what is needed here! If we ever want to see the numbers of old or our children to see them

I truly believe that the fish farm has had a large effect on returning stocks. Just look at the statistics since they were intro'ed to the coast. I don't have any numbers to prove my point but it seems t coincide with the drastic declining fish stocks over the last 15 years or so. Has anyone else noticed this?



Hotrod
 

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hotrod said:
fisherforever said:
The sockeye fishery most probably will collapse in the Fraser IMO. Would like to see this fishery closed like it used to be, too many anglers fighting amongst themselves over whose method is most ethical for catching sockeye. As far as the FN sockeye fishery it is their constitutional right but get rid of the drift nets and go back to traditional methods of set and dip nets. This is just my opinion.
Just so you know drift nets are traditional!
uhuh... and they have used these hundred foot long nets from power boats from the dawn of time. Drift netting should be banned to everyone. period.
 
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