Here is the latest Pacific Salmon Commission news release from July 18 on the state of summer sockeye headed to the Fraser River in southern British Columbia:
The Fraser River Panel met to review assessment data on Fraser River sockeye salmon. The migration of sockeye through marine and lower Fraser River assessment areas as well as past the Mission hydroacoustic site has been modest to date, with sockeye catches in the Area 20 gillnet test fishery remaining lower than anticipated over the past week. The observer at Hells Gate has reported steady sockeye migration over the past several days.
DNA analysis of a fish sample collected from a recent Area 20 gillnet test fishery indicated Fraser sockeye contributions of approximately 37% Early Stuart, 25% Early Summer-run, and 38% Summer-run sockeye. At the meeting today, the run-size estimate of 189,000 Early Stuart sockeye was increased to 240,000 fish. The 50% marine migration timing of Early Stuart sockeye through Area 20 is estimated to be July 9, which is 2 days later than the final pre-season forecast of July 7 and 5 days later than the long-term median timing of July 4. The estimated escapement of Early Stuart sockeye past Mission through July 17 is 160,000 fish.
Assessments of Early Summer-run sockeye abundance are ongoing. Most components of the Early Summer-run group have been represented in samples from marine test fisheries. Early Summer-run sockeye run-size estimates should be available in early August after their peak migration through marine areas. The estimated escapement of Early Summer-run sockeye past Mission through July 17 is 32,000 fish.
On July 17, the Fraser River water discharge at Hope was 4,518 cms, which is approximately 20% lower than average for this date. The temperature of the Fraser River at Qualark Creek on July 17 was 18.8C, which is 2.8C higher than average for this date. After reviewing environmental and stock assessment information at the Tuesday July 15 meeting, the Panel approved an increase in the management adjustment factor for Early Stuart sockeye from 0.86 to 2.12. No changes were made to the Early Stuart management adjustment at today’s meeting. Management adjustments are additional fish that are allowed to escape upstream to help achieve spawning escapement targets for Fraser River sockeye.
Details of DFO’s Fraser sockeye spawner enumeration plans have been posted on the DFO website (http://www.pac.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/fm-gp/fraser/docs/Escapement/sockeye-rouge-eng.html). The Early Stuart escapement assessment program has begun or will begin very shortly. Regular in-season progress reports will begin starting July 31.
The Area 12 and 20 purse seine test fisheries have been rescheduled to start no earlier than Wednesday, July 23 due to later than expected migration timing of Fraser sockeye stocks. These start dates will be reviewed at the next Panel meeting.
The Pacific Salmon Commission reports daily test fishing catches of sockeye salmon on its recorded message at 604-666-8200 and on the internet at: http://www.psc.org/info_testfishing.htm.