Fishery Notice

ABORIGINAL - General Information
COMMERCIAL - Salmon: Gill Net
COMMERCIAL - Salmon: Seine
COMMERCIAL - Salmon: Troll
FN0862-Salmon - Fraser River Sockeye and Pink Update - Areas 11 to 29 - August 25, 2017

The Fraser River Panel met on Friday, August 25 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.	

Test fishery sockeye catches have declined in recent days both in the marine 
and in-river test fishing areas. Based on the purse seine test catches in the 
two approach areas the projected sockeye diversion rate through Johnstone 
Strait has decreased to 72% 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 1% Early Summer, 53% 
Summer and 45% Late run stocks. In Area 12, the purse seine stock composition 
was 1% Early Summer, 62% Summer and 37% Late run stocks. The decrease in 
proportion of Early Summer run stocks combined with the increase in the 
proportion of Late run stocks is consistent with current run timing 
assumptions. The most recent in-river stock identification samples from the 
Whonnock test fishery are showing stock proportions of 7% Early Summer, 89% 
Summer and 4% Late run stocks. The drop in the proportion of Late run stocks in 
recent samples is suggesting that some late run fish may be holding off the 
river, which would be consistent with pre-1996 behavior. 

Daily Mission hydroacoustics escapement estimates of sockeye decreased slightly 
in recent days ranging between 39,500 and 65,100 during the most recent 5 days 
period.  The total estimated sockeye escapement as of August 24 is 1,114,200. 
Hell's Gate observations continue to fluctuate considerably in recent days 
ranging from 2,460 to 15,980. 

During the call today the Fraser panel reduced the run size for Summer run 
sockeye from 1.25 million to 1.0 million with August 11 timing. No changes were 
made to the run size for any of the other run timing groups.  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 24 is 46,400, 153,500, 
848,100 and 66,200 fish, respectively. 

On August 24, the Fraser River water discharge at Hope was 2,088 cubic metres 
per second, which is approximately 26% lower than average for this date. The 
water temperature of the Fraser River at Qualark Creek on August 24 increased 
to 18.6° Celsius which is 1.0° Celsius higher than average for this date. The 
forecast is for water temperatures to decrease to 17.8° Celsius by August 30. 
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.

Test fishery catches of pink salmon in the two approach areas have been 
fluctuating at lower levels in recent days consistent with the previous 
indications that the return of Fraser pink salmon is well below the p50 
forecast of 8.7 million however, it remains too early to adopt a formal run 
size change as the median 50% run timing date is August 28. For fisheries 
planning purposes the Panel used a conservative run size of 3.8 million Fraser 
pink salmon for planning US fisheries during the later portion of this week. 

The most recent pink 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 
decreased to 37% 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. Another limited fishery is occurring today in lower Strait 
of Georgia directed on Fraser pink 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 fourth upstream escapement report was release by DFO yesterday, August 24. 
Observations of Early Stuart sockeye in the spawning areas indicate that 
sockeye are past the peak of spawning and the program is now complete for this 
stock. Enumeration programs are underway in a number of Early Summer and Summer 
run systems with low numbers of fish to date. The Scotch Creek counting fence 
was installed on August 9 with 118 sockeye counted to date while the counting 
fence at Sweltzer Creek (Cultus) was installed on July 31 with 48 sockeye 
observed to date. Didson programs in the Chilko and Quesnel Rivers have 
enumerated 20,137 and 5,629 sockeye respectively. Fish condition in most areas 
has been reported to be good so far this year.

The next in-season meeting of the Fraser River Panel is scheduled to occur on 
Monday, August 28, 2017.


Jennifer Nener 604-666-0789

Fisheries & Oceans Operations Center - FN0862
Sent August 25, 2017 at 1528