Fishery Notice

ABORIGINAL - General Information
COMMERCIAL - Salmon: Gill Net
COMMERCIAL - Salmon: Seine
COMMERCIAL - Salmon: Troll
FN0871-Salmon - Fraser River Sockeye and Pink Update - Areas 11 to 29 - August 28, 2017

The Fraser River Panel met on Monday, August 28, 2017 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 increased slightly in the Area 12 purse seine 
test fishery while Area 20 catches have continued to decline in recent days. 
The in-river gill net test fishery sockeye catches have fluctuated somewhat but 
have been on a declining trajectory. Based on the purse seine test catches in 
the two approach areas the projected sockeye diversion rate through Johnstone 
Strait has increased to 86% 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 sockeye escapement estimates are now being generated based on the 
Whonnock gill net test fishery catch per unit effort information as pink salmon 
abundance is causing issues with Mission based estimates.  Daily sockeye 
estimates during the past 4 days have ranged between 23,200 and 27,000.  The 
total estimated sockeye escapement as of August 27 is 1,176,200. Hell's Gate 
observations have declined since August 23 when 15,980 sockeye were counted 
through the fishways. 

During the Fraser Panel call today no changes were made to the run size for any 
sockeye 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 27 is 46,400, 157,500, 894,300 and 78,200 fish, 

On August 27, the Fraser River water discharge at Hope was 2,004 cubic metres 
per second, which is approximately 24% lower than average for this date. The 
water temperature of the Fraser River at Qualark Creek on August 27  18.3° 
Celsius which is 1.1° Celsius higher than average for this date. The forecast 
is for water temperatures to increase to 19.0° Celsius by September 2 as air 
temperatures are predicted to increase in the next several days. Due to the 
very low discharge levels, water temperatures are highly influenced by air 

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 these groups. 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 continue to 
fluctuate 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. During the Fraser Panel call today the pink run size 
was officially reduced to 4.8 million fish with August 24 timing through Area 
20 which is 4 days earlier than the median timing. 

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 
increased to 42% compared to the historical median of 50%. Run size and timing 
updates for Fraser pinks are likely to be made in the coming weeks.

Based on a pink run size of 4.8 million the US total allowable catch is 
calculated to be 97,000 fish. As such the US proposed both Treaty Indian and 
All Citizen fisheries over the next several days which Canada approved. See the 
PSC fishery regulations for details of each fishery. In the All Citizens 
fishery all sockeye will be released while in the Treaty Indian fisheries 
sockeye can be retained for Ceremonial and Subsistence purposes. Sockeye 
impacts were estimated by the PSC to be less than 200 sockeye for the proposed 

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 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 two weeks ago in 
marine areas in FSC fisheries directed at pink, chum and chinook salmon. 
Another limited fishery occurred over the weekend in the lower Strait of 
Georgia directed on pink salmon. Sockeye encountered and kept or released in 
all these fisheries are accounted for as part of the Low Abundance Exploitation 
Rate limits.

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 Department is receiving questions regarding the possibility of recreational 
fishery openings for chinook and/or pink salmon in the Fraser River.  At this 
time management measures in place are aimed at limiting impacts on Fraser 
sockeye while allowing First Nations food, social and ceremonial fisheries, 
directed on other species, to occur. Recreational fisheries for salmon in the 
Fraser River are not anticipated to open in advance of the upcoming Labour Day 
weekend. DFO will continue to monitor the migration of sockeye through the 
marine areas and the Fraser River and will consider an opening for pink salmon 
when it is determined that impacts of an in-river recreational fishery would be 
minimal for sockeye. As Late Run sockeye can demonstrate holding behaviour in 
the lower river and off the river mouth, such an opportunity is likely not to 
occur in the immediate future. Due to significantly reduced FSC harvest for 
First Nations this year, with very low harvests of both sockeye and chinook to 
date, DFO is not considering opening additional recreational chinook fisheries 
in the river at this time to provide for priority access for First Nations FSC 
fisheries.  For information on current recreational fishery opportunities for 
chinook in other areas please see the Department's web-site at:

The fourth upstream escapement report was release by DFO on 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 
Thursday, August 31, 2017.


Jennifer Nener 604-666-0789

Fisheries & Oceans Operations Center - FN0871
Sent August 29, 2017 at 1223