Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) has recently investigated a possible obstruction on Babine River that could explain why a large percentage of sockeye still haven’t reached the Fort Babine fence.
Although the current Skeena sockeye escapement estimate is 1,452,797, the sockeye return to the Fort Babine fence was 674,648 as of Friday, Aug. 26.
“Babine River has been flown and drifted to investigate a possible obstruction,” confirmed Mark Potyrala, fisheries management biologist with the DFO. “None was found.”
“Given that the run timing past Tyee [Test fishery] appears late, it makes sense that the run timing past the Babine fence will also be late,” he said.
Based on average run timing, the current escapement and harvest at the fence, the projected final return to Babine Lake will be approximately 965,000 sockeye, according to the DFO.
If run timing is average, approximately 70 per cent of the Babine sockeye return should have migrated past the Babine fence.
If the run is late by one week, however, the Babine return estimate increases to 1.3 million.
Lake Babine Nation Chief Wilf Adam said he hopes the sockeye are simply late this year.
The current recreational limit for sockeye is two per day. The recreational fishery closes Sept. 15.