Fishery Notice

ABORIGINAL - General Information
COMMERCIAL - Salmon: Gill Net
COMMERCIAL - Salmon: Seine
COMMERCIAL - Salmon: Troll
FN0895-Salmon - Fraser River Sockeye and Pink Update - Areas 11 to 29 - August 31, 2017

The Fraser River Panel met on Thursday, August 31, 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 fluctuated considerably in the Area 12 purse 
seine test fishery while Area 20 purse seine and in-river test catches have 
declined and stabilized at very low levels. Based on the purse seine test 
catches in the two approach areas the projected sockeye diversion rate through 
Johnstone Strait has increased to 97% compared to the pre-season forecast of 

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 2% Early Summer, 52% Summer and 46% 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, 71% 
Summer and 21% Late run stocks. The low 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 gillnet 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 10,100 and 25,800. The 
total estimated sockeye escapement as of August 30 is 1,240,500. Hell's Gate 
observations of sockeye have fluctuated recently on a declining trajectory. 

During the Fraser Panel call yesterday 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 30 is 46,400, 161,000, 940,100 and 93,000 fish, 

On August 30, the Fraser River water discharge at Hope was 2,025 cubic metres 
per second, which is approximately 20% lower than average for this date. The 
water temperature of the Fraser River at Qualark Creek on August 30 was 18.4° 
Celsius which is 1.4° Celsius higher than average for this date. The forecast 
is for water temperatures to increase to 19.0° Celsius by September 5 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 with larger catches occurring in Area 
12. During the Fraser Panel call on Monday a provisional pink run size of 4.8 
million fish with August 24 timing through Area 20 was adopted for management 

The most recent pink stock identification samples analyzed for Areas 12 and 20 
purse seine test fisheries indicate Fraser origin pink salmon comprise 68% and 
70%, respectively. Based on the most recent purse seine test catches the 
estimated diversion rate through Johnstone Strait for Fraser pink salmon has 
increased to 72% 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 for these fisheries were projected by the PSC staff to be in the 300 to 
400 fish range for the proposed openings.

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, 
limited fishing opportunities directed on pink, chum and chinook have been 
permitted with the retention of dead sockeye being permitted. Another limited 
fishery is planned 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 fifth upstream escapement report was released by DFO on August 31. The 
Early Stuart sockeye program is now complete. 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 2,288 
sockeye counted to date while the counting fence at Sweltzer Creek (Cultus) was 
installed on July 31 with 68 sockeye observed to August 22. Spawning channel 
counts in the Nadina River and Gates Creek are 1,005 and 1,440 respectively. 
Didson programs in the Chilko and Quesnel Rivers have enumerated 80,665 and 
21,181 sockeye respectively to date while an additional Didson program was 
recently initiated in the Stellako River.  In addition there are ongoing cyclic 
visual observation programs being conducted throughout the Fraser watershed 
where more intensive programs are not being conducted. 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 
Tuesday, September 5, 2017.


Jennifer Nener 604-666-0789

Fisheries & Oceans Operations Center - FN0895
Sent September 1, 2017 at 1245