Improved Fraser sockeye return predicted
All sectors expected to participate based on a projected run of up to 10.6 million salmon
By Larry Pynn, Vancouver SunJune 24, 2009
After two low years of salmon runs, the federal fisheries department is predicting improved sockeye returns to the Fraser River this summer.
All sectors -- commercial, sport and aboriginal -- are expected to participate in the fishery, based on a projected return of between six and 10.6 million sockeye, the wide difference explained by the unknown impact of ocean survival, said Jeff Grout, federal salmon resource manager.
The projected returns are still below the average for this four-year cycle of 13.2 million sockeye.
Grout said in an interview Tuesday that test fisheries are conducted on various stocks passing up the Fraser through August to better determine stock numbers and to set fishing openings.
The commercial seine fleet normally fishes in the ocean, but has proposed a small-scale fishery in the Fraser as an option "to harvest their allocation if they missed it in some other marine areas," Grout said.
Seiners will get 47.5 per cent of whatever the commercial sockeye allocation might be this year, coastal gillnetters 21.5 per cent, Fraser River gillnetters 25 per cent, and Johnstone Strait trollers six per cent.
Aboriginal groups have asked to limit harvesting of the early Stuart sockeye run to put more fish on the spawning grounds.
Fisheries can be complicated by the desire to protect weaker stocks that may be migrating upriver with larger healthier stocks. Grout said most of this year's fishing would target stronger mid-summer runs headed for the Chilko Lake and Quesnel Lake firstname.lastname@example.org
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