Fishery Notice

ABORIGINAL - General Information
COMMERCIAL - Salmon: Gill Net
COMMERCIAL - Salmon: Seine
COMMERCIAL - Salmon: Troll
FN0662-Salmon - Fraser River Sockeye Update - Areas 11 to 29 - July 13, 2015

The Fraser River Panel met Friday, July 10, to receive an update on the 
migration of the Fraser sockeye runs to date and review the status of migration 
conditions in the Fraser River watershed.	

Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) provided forecasts of Fraser River sockeye 
and pink salmon abundance, timing and diversion rate to the Fraser Panel. The 
majority of sockeye returning in 2015 will be recruits from adult spawners in 
2010 and 2011. As 2010 was one of the largest returns and spawning escapement 
on record, a larger proportion of 5 year old fish is expected this year than 
usual. Fraser pink salmon will be returning from the 2013 adult spawners. 
Fraser River sockeye and pink salmon forecasts for 2015 are considered highly 
uncertain due to variability in annual survival rates and uncertainty about 
changes in their productivity. 

To put the sockeye run size forecast uncertainty into context, there is a one 
in four chance that the actual number of returning sockeye will be at or below 
3,824,000 fish (the 25% probability level forecast) and there is a one in four 
chance that the actual number of returning sockeye will be at or above 
12,635,000 fish (the 75% probability level forecast). For pre-season planning 
purposes, the Panel used the 50% probability level forecast (equal chance of a 
higher or lower return) of 6,778,000 fish for all management groups except 
Early Stuart for which the 25% probability level was used due to the 
expectations for overall low abundance and the prediction of a very large 
return of 5 year old fish in the forecast.

The pre-season forecast for the 2015 return of Fraser pink salmon that was used 
for pre-season planning was the 50% probability forecast of 14,455,000 fish. To 
put this into context there is a one in four chance that the actual return of 
pink salmon will be less than 10,385,000 fish (the 25% probability level 
forecast)and a one in four chance the return will be larger than 20,450,000 
fish (the 75% probability level forecast). Fishing decisions for both sockeye 
and pink salmon will be based on in-season data. 

For 2015 pre-season planning purposes the Early Stuart forecast timing analysis 
of July 8 was adopted by the Panel while the historical timing for Chilko of 
August 9 was adopted. Timing for all other sockeye stocks was based on 
historical correlations with the Early Stuart and Chilko timings mentioned 
above. The pre-season forecast of the proportion of Fraser River sockeye salmon 
diverting their migration to the Fraser River through Johnstone Strait is 96%. 
For modelling purposes the Panel chose to use a diversion rate of 80% through 
Johnstone Strait which is roughly the mid-point between the recent year average 
of 62% and the above forecast. 

The snow pack volume in the Fraser River watershed was near average in April of 
this year, however a warmer than normal spring resulted in early and greater 
snowmelt throughout the Fraser watershed resulting in the lowest June snowpack 
on record. Water levels are forecast to be at or below historic minimum levels 
during the sockeye migration period. This combined with above average forecast 
for air temperatures has resulted in higher than typical water temperatures 
forecasted for the summer months. The combination of very low flows and high 
water temperatures are expected to create migration issues for Fraser sockeye 
in 2015. As a result, the Fraser Panel has adopted management adjustments for 
Early Stuart and Early Summer sockeye that reflect these conditions. The 
current river temperature at Qualark is 3.6C higher than average. Discharge is 
30% below average. In-season information over the coming weeks will help to 
inform future decisions on management adjustments for the Early Stuart, Early 
Summer and Summer management groups. Management adjustments are additional fish 
that are removed from identified harvest levels and allowed to escape upstream 
in an attempt to assist in achievement if identified escapement objectives for 
the different run timing groups.

Gill net test fishing began on June 22nd in Area 29 (Fraser River at Whonnock) 
and on June 29th at Qualark Creek.  Very few sockeye have been caught to date 
with no stock identification analyses done at this time. In-season assessment 
of Early Stuart sockeye will be provided later in July once more information 
becomes available. In-season assessment of all run timing groups generally 
occurs shortly after identification of their peak migration through marine 

Currently, First Nations food, social and ceremonial fisheries in marine waters 
are non-retention of sockeye. Within the waters of the Fraser River, First 
Nations food, social and ceremonial fisheries have been very limited and 
directed at chinook. The initiation of sockeye directed First Nations food, 
social and ceremonial fisheries is not anticipated before late July or early 
August depending upon location.

Fishers are requested to check for the opening times and any restrictions in 
their local area. There are no planned commercial or recreational fisheries on 
sockeye at this time.

The next in-season meeting of the Fraser River Panel is scheduled to occur on 
Friday, July 18, 2015.


Jennifer Nener 604-666-6478

Fisheries & Oceans Operations Center - FN0662
Sent July 13, 2015 at 1100