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Author Topic: Threat of increased restrictions on chinook fishing loom over industry  (Read 1548 times)

Dave

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Re: Threat of increased restrictions on chinook fishing loom over industry
« Reply #15 on: March 27, 2012, 07:09:39 PM »

Can somebody help with defining exactly which runs are in trouble.   I know the early Upper Fraser springers have been in trouble for some years.  They go far and penetrate into many small streams where the runs have become simply too small to be viable on an individual basis.   I think these are considered spring fish.   

In recent years the runs up the Fraser in summer have been pretty good.  I think these are primarily Thompson/Shushwap fish.   Are these considered summer or late summer or even fall fish?

What runs are 'summer fish'?
Wish I knew more about these early fish but I know of stocks (upper Chilcotin near Chezacut, Elkin Creek, Blackwater and tribs, Morkill, Torpy, McGregor, etc) that spawn at the end of July /early August; that means they were in the lower Fraser up to 6 weeks earlier.  Truth is these stocks have not been given the conservation status they need and spawning ground data is limited.
I agree the South Thompson stocks that migrate through the lower Fraser in the summer are doing surprisingly well and a respected fishery scientist once suggested it was these fish. along with coastal BC hatchery stocks and Columbia River chinooks that kept our resident Orca population fed and in BC waters..
Shuswapsteve can address this far better than I.
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gilbey

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Re: Threat of increased restrictions on chinook fishing loom over industry
« Reply #16 on: March 27, 2012, 07:39:54 PM »

 I can remember fishing springs in Spius Creek (a tributary of the Nicola river) over 30 years ago and catching quite a few in the early spring, like in May. I heard that last year only about 8 fish from the Spius creek run returned to the hatchery. So the springs on that flow are in big trouble.
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shuswapsteve

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Re: Threat of increased restrictions on chinook fishing loom over industry
« Reply #17 on: March 27, 2012, 10:44:32 PM »

Wish I knew more about these early fish but I know of stocks (upper Chilcotin near Chezacut, Elkin Creek, Blackwater and tribs, Morkill, Torpy, McGregor, etc) that spawn at the end of July /early August; that means they were in the lower Fraser up to 6 weeks earlier.  Truth is these stocks have not been given the conservation status they need and spawning ground data is limited.
I agree the South Thompson stocks that migrate through the lower Fraser in the summer are doing surprisingly well and a respected fishery scientist once suggested it was these fish. along with coastal BC hatchery stocks and Columbia River chinooks that kept our resident Orca population fed and in BC waters..
Shuswapsteve can address this far better than I.
The Upper Fraser 5 sub 2 (rear in freshwater for 2 winters and return as 5 year olds) are not doing well.  South Thompson stocks (primarily ocean type 4 sub 1s) are doing much better.  The Fraser River 4 sub 2s stocks are a real concern (I believe these are the earlier timed Chinook that go to places like the Nicola, Deadman, Coldwater, Bonaparte and Spius).  Not sure about what Chinook stocks feed Orcas, but your source is likely a good one knowing that you likely have good sources.

Stock assessment enumeration for Chinook in the BC Interior is primarily done by aerial surveys (Area Under the Curve; peak live count with expansion factor) with more intensive work (mark-recapture) done on systems like the Lower Shuswap, Nicola and Chilko (Sentinel funded) and electronic counters at the Deadman and Bonaparte.  Coded wire tags are put on hatchery fish from the Nicola and the Lower Shuswap.  Spawning ground data is limited because these guys that do this work have a lot of area to cover with limited funds which is not likely going to get any better after March 28th.  Sockeye stock assessment help out CH/CO (Chinook/Coho) stock assessment personnel by trying to count Chinook in areas they are not able to cover.  These other areas that CH/CO cannot get to are routinely covered by Sockeye field staff while doing Sockeye enumeration.  CH/CO staff help Sockeye staff out by returning the favour in areas they are not able to count Sockeye, but it is part of the CH/CO aerial survey schedule.

I hope this helps.
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buck

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Re: Threat of increased restrictions on chinook fishing loom over industry
« Reply #18 on: March 28, 2012, 11:55:15 AM »

Did someone just turn the light bulb on or has everyone been living in a time warp?  One could see the demise of Fraser chinook runs coming 10 years ago. Over fishing by all sectors and the unwillingness to reduce bag limits has compounded the problem. Even as these runs are on their last leg, no one is willing to give an inch.  Continue harvesting these stocks and the problem will take care of itself. Set nets, drift nets , flossing, commercial, lodges, sport fishing and now the removal of HABITAT from the fishery act. It is unfortunate that it has come to this point. As Dave said, it is time for another "David Anderson" to step up to the plate.
Fixing the problem is a long term commitment by all user groups to get more fish on the spawning grounds. Even if this was accomplished, it may not be enough to restore viable stocks due to global warming and reduced survival rates. Spring runs on the west coast have been healthy.  These fish are produced by American hatcheries with money from the mitigation of hydro dams. No such luck in Canada with reduced budgets and production cuts of hatchery fish. Additional funding would be great, however it is being diverted to the aquaculture
industry. What does that say about the commitment of our government to protect wild stocks?
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VAGAbond

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Re: Threat of increased restrictions on chinook fishing loom over industry
« Reply #19 on: March 28, 2012, 01:00:12 PM »

Shuswapsteve:   Thanks for the great summary of chinook run information.   I am always interested in such information and find it very hard to locate even though I know it is probably out there.

Buck:   You are correct about causes and light bulbs but most of us are bystanders and hope the 'authorities' are looking after the fisheries because individually we see only a small piece of the puzzle, even for those of us with an interest.  

As an example of pieces to the puzzle, I found the following on another site:
 
  
Quote
In the 1990s DFO found a new disease in the chinook salmon farms off Campbell River, they called it Salmon Leukemia. They found it infected 100% of the wild chinook that were exposed and killed most of them. They reported it also killed up to 100% of the chinook in the farms prompting the industry to switch largely to Atlantics. However, using vaccinations for related diseases, such as BKD, chinook salmon farming continues along both sides of Vancouver Island and the symptoms of this virus persist in the farm salmon records.
 

So in addition to all the habitat loss and harvesting you mention perhaps we need to consider a new disease and disease vector.  You didn't mention it nor did I see it in the mainstream news reports on failing Chinook runs but it could be consistent with precipitous stock collapse.    Was it a precipitous collapse or a long slow slide? The public just doesn't have access to what is known and not known.  That leads to suspicion and conspiracy theories.   Transparency is the best policy to allay such problems but instead there seems to be more and more secrecy around fisheries and just about everyhting else associated with government.
« Last Edit: March 28, 2012, 01:06:46 PM by VAGAbond »
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