Fishery Notice

ABORIGINAL - General Information
COMMERCIAL - Salmon: Gill Net
COMMERCIAL - Salmon: Seine
COMMERCIAL - Salmon: Troll
FN0850-Salmon - Fraser River Sockeye and Pink Update - Areas 11 to 29 - August 22, 2017 - Amendment to FN0849

This notice amends FN0849 to correct the total estimated sockeye escapement as 
of August 21, 2017.  The full corrected fishery notice follows.

The Fraser River Panel met on Tuesday, August 22 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 fluctuated in recent days while 
purse seine test catches in Areas 12 and 20 have decreased considerably over 
the past 5 days. 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 81% 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 3% Early Summer, 67% 
Summer and 30% Late run stocks. In Area 12, the purse seine stock composition 
was 3% Early Summer, 55% Summer and 42% Late run stocks. The decrease in 
proportion of Early Summer run stocks combined with the increase in the 
proportion of Late run stocks continues to indicate the total return of Fraser 
sockeye is later than normal run timing. The most recent in-river stock 
identification samples from the Whonnock test fishery are showing stock 
proportions of 2% Early Summer, 82% Summer and 16% Late run stocks.

Daily Mission hydroacoustics escapement estimates of sockeye continue to 
increase ranging between 46,400 and 76,000 during the most recent 5 days 
period.  The total estimated sockeye escapement as of August 21 is 981,700. 
Hell's Gate observations have fluctuated considerably in recent days. 

During the call today no changes were made to the run size for any of the run 
timing groups although the summer run is currently tracking slightly lower than 
the current adopted run size of 1.25 million.  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 21 is 46,400, 143,100 and 732,000 and 
60,200 fish, respectively. 

On August 21, the Fraser River water discharge at Hope was 2,151 cubic metres 
per second, which is approximately 28% lower than average for this date. The 
water temperature of the Fraser River at Qualark Creek on August 21 decreased 
to 18.1° Celsius which is 0.3° Celsius higher than average for this date. The 
forecast is for water temperatures to decrease to 17.9° Celsius by August 27. 
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.

Recent declines in the test fishery catches in the two approach areas is 
suggesting that the return of Fraser pink salmon may be less than the p50 
however it remains too early to adopt a formal run size change as the forecast 
50% run timing date is August 28. The most recent stock identification samples 
analyzed for Areas 12 and 20 purse seine test fisheries indicate Fraser origin 
pink salmon comprise 51% and 68%, respectively. Based on the most recent purse 
seine test catches the estimated diversion rate through Johnstone Strait for 
Fraser pink salmon has increased to 51% 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 may continue 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, until the coho window closure comes into effect. 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, an 18 hour opportunity to retain dead sockeye 
was permitted last week in marine areas in FSC fisheries directed at pink, chum 
and chinook salmon. 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 
Friday, August 25, 2017.


Jennifer Nener 604-666-0789

Fisheries & Oceans Operations Center - FN0850
Sent August 23, 2017 at 1027