Fishery Notice

Category(s):
ABORIGINAL - General Information
COMMERCIAL - Salmon: Gill Net
COMMERCIAL - Salmon: Seine
COMMERCIAL - Salmon: Troll
RECREATIONAL - Salmon
Subject:
FN0778-Salmon - Fraser River Sockeye Update - Areas 11 to 29 - July 29, 2016


The Fraser River Panel met Friday, July 29th, 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.	

Gill net and purse seine test fish catches in the marine areas continue to 
fluctuate at lower levels than anticipated while the Fraser River gill net test 
fishery catches increased considerably up to yesterday when they dropped back 
to lower levels. Based on the gill net and seine test catches in the two 
approach areas the current 5-day diversion rate through Johnstone Strait has 
decreased slightly to 45% which remains below the pre-season forecast of 75% 
for the entire season and also lower than the diversion rates expected at this 
time of year from the pre-season planning model. Estimates of Mission passage 
are approximately 20,000 per day.

DNA analysis of samples taken in the most recent marine test fisheries show 
sockeye stock compositions in Area 20 of 20% Early Summer, 71% Summer and 10% 
Late run stocks. In Johnstone Strait the DNA samples indicate a stock 
composition of 26% Early Summer, 65% Summer and 8% Late run stocks. In-river 
DNA samples from July 24-27 had 0% Early Stuart, Early Summers dropping to a 
range of 48 to 37%, Summers at 52 to 60% and Lates at 0% to 2% for below bridge 
and above bridge samples respectively.

During the Panel call today the run size for Early Stuart sockeye remained 
unchanged at the 25% probability run size of 22,000.  The estimated escapement 
past Mission of Early Stuart sockeye as of July 28th is 16,700 fish. At this 
time the return of Early Stuart sockeye is considered to nearly be completed in 
the marine and lower Fraser River areas. A final in-season run size adjustment 
to Early Stuart is expected to occur on Tuesday.

Early Summer run sockeye have been tracking below the 50% probability forecast 
of 447,000 with some indications of lateness in run timing. No changes were 
made to the run size for Early Summers today. The estimated escapement past 
Mission of Early Summer run stocks as of July 28th is 146,300 fish.

Summer run stocks are also tracking below 50% probability forecast of 1,677,000 
fish however only a small portion of the run has been observed at this time. It 
is anticipated that a run size update will be made in mid-August. The estimated 
escapement of Summer run sockeye past Mission through July 28th is 75,400 fish.

Late run sockeye have begun to show up at low levels in DNA samples in both the 
marine and in-river test fishery samples.  The estimated escapement of late run 
sockeye past Mission through July 28th is 700 fish.

On July 28th, the Fraser River water discharge at Hope was 3,868 cms, which is 
approximately 15% lower than average for this date. The temperature of the 
Fraser River at Qualark Creek on July 28th was 19.2°C, which is 1.3°C higher 
than average for this date. The water temperature is forecast to decrease to 
18.4°C by August 3rd.

For pre-season planning purposes the Fraser Panel has adopted management 
adjustments for Early Summer and Summer sockeye that reflect the forecast 
conditions based on the May to June information. Management adjustments are 
additional fish that are removed from identified harvest levels and allowed to 
escape upstream in an attempt to assist in achievement of identified escapement 
objectives for the different run timing groups. In-season information over the 
coming weeks will help to inform future decisions on management adjustments for 
the Early Summer and Summer management groups while the Early Stuart and Late 
run management groups will be managed based on the respective Low Abundance 
Exploitation Rate (LAER) for each group (10% for Early Stuart and 20% for 
Lates). There will be no in-season estimates of management adjustment for Early 
Stuart and Late run sockeye in 2016 as the forecast returns are very low across 
the entire forecast range and it is anticipated they will be managed to the 
LAER, with the expected outcome of a spawning escapement well below goal.

First Nations food, social and ceremonial (FSC) sockeye fisheries in marine 
areas and the Fraser River have begun in recent days with small scale fisheries 
being planned.  DFO is requesting that First Nations continue to avoid the use 
of seine gear in the marine areas until Sunday, July 31st, at which time, those 
seine vessels not requiring amended licences may begin retaining sockeye. Given 
the most recent abundance information limited FSC fisheries are expected to 
continue in both the marine areas and the Fraser River.

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. There are 
no planned commercial or recreational sockeye fisheries in 2016 at this time.

The first in-season update on the escapement of Fraser sockeye was released on 
July 28th. Only a few spawning systems have assessment programs running at this 
time. Early Stuart sockeye were first observed in the terminal area on July 
23rd at the mouths of Forfar and Gluske Creeks. Water temperatures are good at 
this time. The Didson program in the Chilliwack system began on July 20th with 
an estimated 4,115 sockeye to date past the Upper Chilliwack Didson and several 
thousand fish holding in the lake. Water temperatures are favorable at this 
time. The Sweltzer Creek counting fence in the Cultus Lake system began 
operations on July 11th and to date no fish have been observed. The water 
temperature in Sweltzer Creek is 22 degrees. The next escapement update will be 
on Thursday, August 4th.

The next in-season meeting of the Fraser River Panel is scheduled to occur on 
Tuesday, August 2nd, 2016.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Jennifer Nener 604-666-0789

Fisheries & Oceans Operations Center - FN0778
Sent July 29, 2016 at 1522