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DFO closes recreational sockeye fishery in the Skeena River Watershed
Even bad 2013 Sockeye run looked far better at this point[/COLOR]
Also as for July 10th Steelhead run of 2019 looks very bleak !!!!!, unless they are late. Also it is an early, only twice in the last 20 years, Tyee was so poor when there was not commercial fishery which usually starts in the mid-July.
What is troubling is only two small catches per hour in the last 10 days. Typically by this time fish would come in small numbers but consistently.
2007 and 2017 runs were bad, but this may be every worst.
While on Columbia system the last 4 years were getting worst, Skeena had good 2016 and 2018 runs.
2012 Steelhead run looked very bad until mid-July and then really took off by 20-25th, but that year water was exceptionally high after monster snow-pack and a bit late run-offs, what most likely held the fish near the river's estuary.
Area 4 - Skeena River
The current estimate of run size based on the Tyee test fishery is 257,000 Sockeye, assuming average run timing. Should run timing be either one week early or late, the range of estimates generated falls between 120,000 and 612,000 fish. For management purposes, the 257k estimate will be used. As more data are collected these estimates will likely improve – estimates with generated probability bounds will be available after this week. While it is still relatively early in the season (with average run timing, only 11.97% of the run has passed Tyee on July 8), these low numbers are reason for a continued precautionary approach.
Tyee Test Fishery:
Sockeye escapements have remained consistent through the Tyee test fishery over the week. As of July 8, the estimated number of Large Sockeye past Tyee is 30,514 fish. It is too early for a reliable Skeena Sockeye TRTC estimate. Estimates should become more reliable into mid-July. The index values of Chinook encountered to date are lower than this point in 2018, although higher than this date in 2017, and well short of the decadal average.
Way too early to predict anything as far as steelhead go. I'm thinking an average to less than average year for numbers. Id be way more concerned with adequate water levels in the entire Skeena system. Last year was the lowest water levels during prime time in Sept/Oct ever. With the lowest snowpack we have ever seen this year, I'm betting low water again. That said, the weather over the last month has been crazy with cool wet days (a good thing). Maybe if the trend continues, we might get lucky later in the year.
" That said, the weather over the last month has been crazy with cool wet days (a good thing). Maybe if the trend continues, we might get lucky later in the year."
Not to much in Nass-Skeena system, more in Central - Eastern part and in Alberta where they at least for now eliminated drought. I am still waiting for a nice low pressure to hit N. BC form the west to make 2-3 days rain event.
I believe there is an internal regulation in place that calls for Steelhead closure if Tyee will not hit 80 by August 31.
Just emailed Mark Beere, manager of the Smithers fisheries office, but he is away until November which is odd. Have to find another source now.
It's not looking good at all
I would not be surprised that all Salmon species in river ( Skeena) fishery will be closed soon. For any commercial fishery at least 1.1 million of Sockeye is needed.
Ironically return to Nass is fine and in Bristol Bay Alaska Sockeye return is again above average. This is what happens when Commies destroyed native Babine Lake Sockeye and after Fulton Channels were build over 20 years ago, Juvenile Sockeye in an artificial Fulton Channels are growing in crowded environment before heading to the Pacific.
Good job dumb greedy Gill-netters. I hope form now returns will be around 800-900k plenty for First Nations food, local anglers and descent escapement , but ZERO for Gill-netters !!!!!!
The Tyee test fishery is the main in-season stock assessment tool for
estimating the relative abundance of Skeena River salmon. Daily in-season
escapements and total run size are estimated for sockeye only. Salmon returns
are variable and estimates are also subject to error as the annual catchability
of salmon by the Tyee test fishery net varies.
A total of 88,000 sockeye are estimated to have passed the Tyee test fishery by
July 18. On average, 33% of the aggregate Skeena sockeye return passes the Tyee
test fishery by July 18. The Skeena sockeye aggregate in-season return to
Canada forecast is from 163,000 (one week early) to 515,000 (one week late)
with a point estimate of 264,000.
The current minimum escapement goal of 400,000 is based on the lowest observed
escapement from which Skeena Sockeye recovered after a landslide in 1950 that
blocked fish passage into Babine River.
Based on current assessments the aggregate return is forecast to be below this
minimum escapement goal; subsequently, there is no surplus of sockeye available
for a directed harvest.
The next update will be Thursday July 25, 2019.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Sandra Davies 250-627-3426
Fisheries & Oceans Operations Center - FN0680
Sent July 19, 2019 at 1609
And just like that, the numbers are coming up. Again, too early to tell but Im banking on an average year.
Wondering if we are starting to see a two year cycle of some sort?
This is what all commercial, tribal & non tribal fisheries need to do.
Not a new process, so effective the canneries on the Columbia put us in the situation we are now in. However, used in a sustainable way can be a way forward.
How is the skeena system doing?
Effective at 00:00:01 hours July 27, 2019 until further notice - The Skeena
River watershed is closed to fishing for all salmon.
After some rather moderate bump 4-5 days ago Steelhead is back to a very small !!!!!! run rate
RECREATIONAL - Salmon
Yup, my 82 year old partner is flying up Saturday for our annual week on the river and now its closed to recreational fishing, I don't want to get into how many dollars we've spent getting ready for this. It was already closed to Sockeye retention.
If the run is that small then the river should be closed to everyone. Instead there will be nets in every back eddy and the dash 8 will still run every night to Vancouver full of Sockeye. All this does is remove the witnesses from the crime scene while the rape occurs.
The Nets will be out till the last salmon has been killed, sad! Then it's our fault!
Closing the river for recreational angling is fine if its due to conservation concerns. However, if it truly is due to conservation concerns, then FN nets should be out of the water as well. The way it works is, "conservation, FN, recreational, commercial". Or that's how its laid out and supposed to work. That said, there has been so many "closed door" meetings between DFO and FN it makes me sick to my stomach. The general public should have access or at least a representative at these meetings for transparency. If salmon abundance is so low that the rec sector needs to be shut down, Id like to know how many fish FN is being granted. And not next year when reports are out, but now.
Now the closure is somewhat vague. Skeena watershed. To me, that not only means the mainstem but all of the tribs as well straight up to the headwaters.
To add, steelhead is obviously open to C&R. Anglers need to follow the rules (as stupid as they may seem) and not target Chinook under the guise of steelhead fishing.
Citing conservation concerns, recreational angling is the first to go, then commercial, then the Indigenous food and ceremonial fishery. This has been the law since 1990. Is it "fair"? Maybe not to some. Does this mean that resources aren't exploited under the guise of a food fishery? Not necessarily. But it upholds, at least least partially, an acknowledgement of pre-existing Indigenous rights and ultimately that is a very important thing.
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