Fishery Notice

ABORIGINAL - General Information
COMMERCIAL - Salmon: Gill Net
COMMERCIAL - Salmon: Seine
COMMERCIAL - Salmon: Troll
FN0926-Salmon - Fraser River Sockeye and Pink Update - Areas 11 to 29 - September 8, 2017

The Fraser River Panel met on Friday, September 8, 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.

The purse seine test fisheries in Areas 12 and 20 were terminated as scheduled 
on September 6 and 7 respectively. In-river sockeye gill net test catches have 
remained at low levels while pink catches have declined considerably from a 
peak catch of 132 at Whonnock on September 3. The decision was made to 
terminate the Cottonwood test fishery on September 10 as scheduled. Based on 
the purse seine test catches in the two approach areas the projected sockeye 
diversion rate through Johnstone Strait has decreased in recent days to 85% 
compared to the pre-season forecast of 51% and the pink diversion rate has 
increased to 84% compared to the historical median of 50%.

The most recent DNA samples taken in the marine purse seine test fisheries show 
sockeye stock compositions in Area 20 of approximately 0% Early Summer, 49% 
Summer and 51% Late run stocks. In Area 12, the purse seine stock composition 
was 2% Early Summer, 54% Summer and 44% Late run stocks. The most recent in-
river stock identification samples from the Whonnock test fishery are showing 
stock proportions of 0% Early Summer, 67% Summer and 33% Late run stocks.

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 7,100 and 18,800.  The 
total estimated sockeye escapement as of September 7 is 1,357,600. Hell's Gate 
observations of sockeye have fluctuated recently on a declining trajectory.

During the Fraser Panel call today the run size for each of the run timing 
groups was modified to reflect the current projected returns as this was the 
last in-season meeting for the Fraser Panel. As such the adopted run size for 
Early Stuart, Early Summer, Summer and Late run stocks were adopted to be 
47,000, 165,0000, 1,044,000 and 231,000 respectively. 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 September 7 is 46,400, 161,900, 1,009,900 and 
139,400 fish, respectively. 

On September 7, the Fraser River water discharge at Hope was 1,884 cubic metres 
per second, which is approximately 21% lower than average for this date. The 
water temperature of the Fraser River at Qualark Creek on September 7 was 18.1° 
Celsius which is 2.1° Celsius higher than average for this date. 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.

During the Fraser Panel call today, the run size for pink salmon was reduced 
from the previous provisional run size of 4.5 million to 3.7 million with 
August 19 run timing. The most recent pink stock identification samples 
analyzed for Areas 12 and 20 purse seine test fisheries indicate Fraser origin 
pink salmon comprise 75% and 71%, respectively. Based on a pink run size of 3.7 
million there is no remaining TAC for US or Canadian commercial and 
recreational fisheries.

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 allowed. 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 pink salmon in the Fraser River. For 2017, DFO is not 
considering an in-river, recreational pink retention fishery in the river 
because there is no remaining TAC for directed recreational or commercial pink 

The sixth upstream escapement report was released by DFO on September 7. 
Enumeration programs are underway in a number of Early Summer, Summer and Late 
run systems. The Scotch Creek counting fence was installed on August 9 with 
4,190 sockeye counted to date while the counting fence at Sweltzer Creek 
(Cultus) was installed on July 31 with 116 sockeye observed to September 5. 
Spawning channel counts in the Nadina River and Gates Creek are 1,457 and 2,217 
respectively. Didson programs in the Chilko, Quesnel and Stellako  Rivers have 
enumerated 204,687, 56,943 and 11,709 sockeye respectively. 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 Fraser River Panel meeting is scheduled to occur on Monday, October 2, 


Jennifer Nener 604-666-0789

Fisheries & Oceans Operations Center - FN0926
Sent September 8, 2017 at 1612