Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: SW Alaska, Bulkley Valley, Skeena
I think ( could be wrong ) Fraser Sockeye is naturally spawn fish, where major portion of Babine Fish comes form Fulton Channels, which were created artificially after native fish has been decimated by gillnetters.
Allegedly back, before Fulton Channels were created, native Babine Fish were no more then 1-1.2 million.
Some fish biologist, who cares for fish population , not a packet of Jimmy Pattison who owes most of processors ( DFO in Prince Rupert ) think that Fulton Fish smolts in they first few months in the salt ( most critical for survival) have higher mortality.
Last year, based on Babine fence counting by early August, it was obvious that run is 20-25 % lower then estimated based on Tyee approximation. While fish may come 7-10 days later or earlier form salt, specially with low water like last year, they do not travel in Skeena/Babine 7-10 days longer, actually faster. And that was exactly DFO management idiotic explanation. They even tried to blame Babine mud slide for slowdown, the mudslide which did not exist.
The main reason was, that they underestimated by 20% 2015 run, so they needed to manufacture 2016 run by 20-25%.
They number of fish at Babine was exactly 20-25% less in 2016 then Tyee indicated.
This type of "tweaking" create problems. It is not as bad as prior to 2008 where with good run like 1.5 million + exploitation rate was 60-65%, with many openings in August, still DFO often try to increase exploitation rate from 10-20 to 20-30% if run looks a bit better.
The only way to do it right, is to curtail non-selective harvest and rate of harvest, restore native fish which typically run in late July and in August and slowly over years close Fulton Channels which produce fish running mainly in June-late July timeframe.