Fishery Notice

ABORIGINAL - General Information
COMMERCIAL - Salmon: Gill Net
COMMERCIAL - Salmon: Seine
COMMERCIAL - Salmon: Troll
FN0836-Salmon - Fraser River Sockeye and Pink Update - Areas 11 to 29 - August 18, 2017

The Fraser River Panel met on Friday, August 18 to receive an update on the 
migration of the Fraser sockeye and pink runs to date and review the status of 
migration conditions in the Fraser River watershed.	

In-river gill net test catches of sockeye have been consistent at low to 
moderate levels for several days while purse seine test catches in Areas 12 and 
20 have increased over the past week with the exception of yesterday when 
catches declined in both areas. The purse seine test catches in the two 
approach areas has resulted in a slight increase in the projected sockeye 
diversion rate through Johnstone Strait to 78% compared to the pre-season 
forecast of 51%.

The most recent DNA samples taken in the marine purse seine test fisheries show 
sockeye stock compositions in Area 20 of approximately 2% Early Summer, 71% 
Summer and 27% Late run stocks. In Area 12, the purse seine stock composition 
was 6% Early Summer, 70% Summer and 23% Late run stocks. The decrease in 
proportion of Early Summer run stocks combined with the continuation of summer 
run stocks and increase in the proportion of Late run stocks is suggesting that 
the total return of Fraser sockeye may have later than normal run timing. The 
most recent in-river stock identification samples from the Whonnock test 
fishery are showing stock proportions of 8% Early Summer, 83% Summer and 9% 
Late run stocks.

Daily Mission hydroacoustics escapement estimates of sockeye have increased in 
recent days ranging between 30,400 and 56,900. The total estimated sockeye 
escapement as of August 17 is 707,900. Hell's Gate observations have continued 
to increase in recent days. 

During the call today, the Fraser Panel increased the run size for Early Summer 
run sockeye to 150,000 with August 2 timing, due to recent increases in the 
abundance of Pitt and early Thompson stocks. No changes were made to the run 
size for Early Stuart and Summer run stocks while a provisional run size of 
247,000 was adopted for Late run sockeye with a timing of August 18. At the 
current run size for Early Summer, Summer and Late run sockeye, there is no TAC 
available and as such only fisheries with minimal impact on sockeye are being 
considered at this time. The estimated escapement past Mission of Early Stuart, 
Early Summer, Summer and Late run sockeye as of August 17 is 46,400, 128,900 
and 495,300 and 37,300 fish, respectively. 

On August 17, the Fraser River water discharge at Hope was 2,505 cubic metres 
per second, which is approximately 23% lower than average for this date. The 
water temperature of the Fraser River at Qualark Creek on August 17 decreased 
to 19° Celsius which is 0.9° Celsius higher than average for this date. The 
forecast is for water temperatures to decrease to 18.7° Celsius by August 23 as 
cooler air temperatures combined with precipitation is forecast in the coming 
days. Due to the very low discharge levels, water temperatures are highly 
influenced by air temperatures.

For pre-season planning purposes the Fraser Panel had adopted management 
adjustments for Early Summer, Summer and Late run sockeye that reflect the 
forecast water temperature and discharge conditions based on the May and June 
information for Early Summer and Summer run sockeye, and anticipated river 
entry dates for Late run fish. Due to the very poor return of Early Summer and 
Summer run stocks they are now being managed based on a Low Abundance 
Exploitation Rate (LAER) limit and as such there will be no modifications to 
the in-season management adjustments for this group. Management adjustments are 
additional fish that are set aside from identified harvest levels and allowed 
to migrate upstream in an attempt to assist in achievement of identified 
spawner objectives for the different run timing groups. No in-season changes to 
the management adjustment are expected for Early Stuart, Early Summer, Summer 
and Late run groups in 2017.

At this time the return of Fraser pink salmon is looking to be either early, 
larger than forecast or both. Recent test fishery catches in the marine 
approach areas have shown increasing abundances of pink salmon primarily in the 
Johnstone Strait area. The most recent stock identification samples analyzed 
for Areas 12 and 20 purse seine test fisheries indicate Fraser origin pink 
salmon comprise 30% and 44%, respectively. Based on the most recent purse seine 
test catches the estimated diversion rate through Johnstone Strait for Fraser 
pink salmon is estimated to be 44% compared to the historical median of 50%. 
Run size and timing updates for Fraser pinks are likely to be made in the 
coming weeks.

Earlier in the season First Nations food, social and ceremonial sockeye 
fisheries were restricted by a 4 week window closure protecting Early Stuart 
and the earliest timed Early Summer run stocks with limited fishing 
opportunities in-river directed at Chinook salmon. These Chinook directed 
fisheries are continuing to occur on a weekly basis for the near future in both 
the lower and mid-river fishing areas up to Lillooet and in portions of the 
Thompson River drainage. Areas in the Fraser River upstream of Lillooet have 
been severely impacted by the numerous forest fires this season which have 
prevented many First Nations from any fishing to date. As a result the 
department is allowing for limited sockeye directed fishing opportunities for a 
modest number of sockeye in a number of locations as no other species of salmon 
are available for harvest in these areas. In inside coastal waters, very little 
fishing has occurred in areas where Fraser sockeye are prevalent as sockeye non-
retention restrictions have been in place since the beginning of the season. 
Earlier this week an 18 hour opening was scheduled in marine areas directed at 
pink, chum and Chinook salmon with retention of dead sockeye permitted. In this 
fishery all efforts were to be made to release sockeye alive and unharmed (see 
FN0819 for details). Sockeye encountered and kept or released in all these 
fisheries are accounted for as part of the Low Abundance Exploitation Rate. 

Food, social and ceremonial fishers in marine approach areas as well as the 
Fraser River are requested to check for the opening times and any restrictions 
in their local area.

The next in-season meeting of the Fraser River Panel is scheduled to occur on 
Tuesday, August 22, 2017.


Jennifer Nener 604-666-0789

Fisheries & Oceans Operations Center - FN0836
Sent August 18, 2017 at 1514