Dismal year for sockeye returns on the Fraser River

Current estimate for Fraser sockeye is at about 2.4 million fish, compared to the higher pre-season forecast of 6.8 million sockeye

Sockeye numbers on the Fraser River were pretty dismal this year

When in-season Fraser River sockeye numbers don’t match expectations forecast by Fisheries and Oceans Canada, there are always implications.

There are no fishery openings on the Fraser for sockeye salmon right now, said Jennifer Nener, Lower Fraser area director for DFO.

“The numbers are low,” she said.

There have been recent openings for chinook, also known as spring salmon, for food, social and ceremonial purposes by First Nations, as well as recreational fishing opportunities for chinook.

But sockeye — not so much.

“We don’t have the abundance we were expecting,” Nener noted.

The current estimate of in season run size for Fraser sockeye is sitting at about 2.4 million, compared to the healthier pre-season forecast of 6.8 million sockeye.

The forecast is a range, she cautioned, meaning there is always “considerable uncertainty” along the way.

“What we plan around is the median,” Nener said.

Why were sockeye numbers so low?

There always discussion and debate about the possible reasons, but the role of unusually warm ocean conditions cannot be ignored.

“That has an impact on the whole food chain,” she said.  “But sockeye have a complex life cycle, so it’s hard to apply cause-and-effect.”

But low returning sockeye numbers always impacts a range of user groups.

“If affects people’s opportunity to fish, that’s the one people are most aware of,” she said. “It means limited fishing for food, social and ceremonial purposes for First Nations, and no recreational fishing opportunities targeting sockeye, or commercial openings.”

There are spinoffs to the local economy as well.

“It has implications for everyone, for First Nations, for recreational fishers, those who have businesses related to recreational fishing, as well as commercial. They would all feel it. It has been a year of opportunity.”

jfeinberg@theprogress.com

twitter.com/chwkjourno

Just Posted

Education Minister to make announcement in Chilliwack Friday

Visit points to possible support for arts-and-technology school at former UFV site

High death rate at Abbotsford Regional Hospital

Abbotsford has the worst-performing large hospital in B.C. on key safety measure

Prolific offender charged in Chilliwack break-and-enter

Ifraz Shamil Khan also charged with flight from police and apprehended in Yarrow Dec. 5

Chilliwack’s Royal Hotel offers warm, helping hand this Christmas

The Royal Hotel is collecting donations of gloves and mittens for those in need this holiday season

UPDATE: Christmas-tree-sized hedge theft captured on Chilliwack security video

RCMP arrives as person walks away with tree in downtown area, woman arrested on outstanding warrant

‘Not a decision I came to lightly:’ Scheer to resign as Conservative leader

Decision comes after weeks of Conservative infighting following the October election

B.C. SPCA seizes dogs chained up outside among scrap metal, garbage

Shepherd-breed dogs were living in ‘deplorable conditions.’

B.C. plane crash victim identified; witnesses describe ‘explosion’

He was a flight instructor, charter pilot and owned an airstrip before leaving Alberta

BC Hydro offers tips as collisions with power poles increase

Region with the largest spike in collisions was the Lower Mainland at 16 per cent

Canadian airline passengers to be eligible for $1,000 in compensation for delayed flights

Passengers can also receive compensation for overbooking, lost luggage and other inconveniences

Second snowfall warning issued for Coquihalla Highway

Another 20 cm of snow is expected to fall by early Friday

RCMP must bury three sex mannequins found in Manning Park

Police tasked with ensuring the mannequins were completely disposed of

B.C. seniors need better vaccine protection, advocate says

Home support down, day programs up in annual rating

Most Read