As of last week, the total Skeena sockeye return estimate was 419,000, which is even lower than the pre-season estimate of 590,000 sockeye.

As of last week, the total Skeena sockeye return estimate was 419,000, which is even lower than the pre-season estimate of 590,000 sockeye.

Sockeye return lower than expected

The total sockeye return estimate was 419,000 last week

Although recreational fishing for Skeena River chinook, coho and pink salmon will reopen on July 15, recreational fishing for sockeye and chum salmon will remain closed in the entire Skeena watershed.

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) initiated the closure June 15 due to predicted low salmon returns.

Based on estimated escapement to date, and assuming average run-timing, the total sockeye return estimate last week was 419,000, which is even lower than the pre-season estimate of 590,000 sockeye.

According to Lake Babine Nation (LBN) Chief Wilf Adam, at least 600,000 would be necessary for LBN members to start harvesting sockeye. First Nations food, social and ceremonial harvesting of sockeye salmon will be closed for the entire 2017 season unless there is an indication of increased sockeye abundance, which doesn’t seem very likely at this point.

“We are in discussion with our neighbours to the west for trade for salmon for our membership,” said Chief Adam.

Colin Masson, DFO’s north coast area director, said 2017 – the last year of the sockeye’s four-year cycle – is anticipated to have one of the lowest sockeye returns on record for the Skeena watershed. During the closure, First Nations are permitted to harvest only chinook, pink and chum salmon.

As of July 15, additional management measures will also be implemented for recreational fishing of Skeena chinook, as follows:

– The maximum daily quota for Skeena chinook will be reduced to two chinook salmon, only one of which can be over 65 cm, in the entire Skeena River watershed;

– The Skeena River mainstem, upstream of the Sustut River and at the Kitwanga and Kispiox River mouths, will be closed to chinook fishing;

– All tributaries and lakes of the Skeena River will be closed to chinook fishing, except for sections of the Babine, Bulkley, Kitsumkalum, Morice and Sustut Rivers.

The entire Skeena River watershed will be closed to chinook fishing again on Aug. 15, 2017, to protect spawning chinook stocks.

Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen said last month that the Skeena fishery closure was a “slam to the northwest economy,” and that it would likely have been avoided if federal officials had been more aggressive in stock management over the last decade.

The DFO says that overfishing is not a significant contributor to the anticipated low sockeye return.

For a complete list of Skeena recreational salmon regulations, visit the online B.C. Sport Fishing Guide, freshwater region six, at http://bcsportfishguide.ca.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

(Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
Murder charge laid in February 2020 stabbing death of Smithers man

Michael Egenolf is charged with the second-degree murder of Brodie Cumiskey

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
COVID-19: B.C. seniors aged 90+ can start to sign up for vaccination on March 8

Long-term care residents protected by shots already given

The village is hoping for a start date in early April with completion as soon as possible. (Granisle Village website photo/Houston Today)
Granisle’s curling rink to receive a facelift

Receives a $362,148 provincial grant

A huge milestone for Granisle to reach 50 years, said Mayor. (Village of Granisle photo/Lakes District News)
Granisle’s 50 years anniversary celebration postponed

The celebrations are now set to be held in 2022

Topley is part of the 10 projects funded in the north. (Laura Blackwell photo/Houston Today)
Topley to receive economic funding

Part of province’s $20.7 million Climate Adaptation Program

The James C Richardson Pipe Band marches in a Remembrance Day parade on Nov. 11, 2019 in Chilliwack. Wednesday, March 10 is International Bagpipe Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of March 7 to 13

International Bagpipe Day, Wash Your Nose Day and Kidney Day are all coming up this week

Victoria man Brett Andersen is asking for people’s help to secure him one of eight free tickets to the moon. (Screenshot/@brettandersen Instagram)
Victoria man wants your help securing a free ticket to the moon

Japanese billionaire offering eight people a trip to the moon

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Donald Alan Sweet was once an all star CFL kicker who played for the Montreal Alouettes and Montreal Concordes over a 13-year career. Photo courtesy of Mission RCMP.
Ex-B.C. teacher who was CFL kicker charged with assault, sexual crimes against former students

Donald Sweet taught in Mission School District for 10 years, investigators seek further witnesses

During a press event on March 6, Const. Alex Berube, media relations officer for the West Shore RCMP, addressed a deadly shooting that occurred in Metchosin the night before. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
VIDEO: One man shot dead on Vancouver Island in ‘targeted incident’

Highway 14 reopens following multi-hour closure for investigation

Personal protective equipment is seen in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at St. Paul’s hospital in downtown Vancouver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
$16.9 million invested to improve worker safety, strengthen B.C.’s food supply chain

Money to be used for social distancing, personal protective equipment, cleaning, and air circulation

More than ever before, as pandemic conditions persist, the threat of data breaches and cyberattacks continues to grow, according to SFU professor Michael Parent. (Pixabay photo)
SFU expert unveils 5 ways the COVID-19 pandemic has forever changed cybersecurity

Recognizing these changes is the first in a series of steps to mitigate them once the pandemic ends, and before the next: Michael Parent

Most Read