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Author Topic: FN0497-Salmon: Fraser River Sockeye Management 2004 - Conservation Objectives -  (Read 4445 times)

Fishin Freak

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Fishing plans for Fraser River sockeye in 2004 have been developed that respond
to the expected available harvest of Early Summer and Summer run returns.  The
challenge facing the harvest interests and fishery managers is to develop and
implement plans that access these surpluses while addressing conservation
concerns for co-migrating stocks and species.

Late run sockeye are expected to continue to enter the Fraser River earlier
than normal and experience significant en route and pre-spawning mortalities.  
Therefore, the Fraser River Panel's priority objective for the 2004 Fraser
River sockeye management season will be the conservation of Late run sockeye
and to limit fisheries impacts to a 15% exploitation rate.  This conservation
commitment will have a significant impact on fisheries where Late run sockeye
are expected to be present and result in closures that are much earlier than

Canadian First Nation, commercial and recreational fisheries directed at Fraser
River sockeye will be managed in a manner that addresses the stringent
conservation requirements for Sakinaw and Cultus Lake sockeye and fishery
impacts for both stocks will be managed to ensure the impacts are within the
range of a 10-12% exploitation rate. Accordingly, the pre-season plans and in-
season strategies have been developed for Fraser River sockeye with the
management objective for Cultus Lake sockeye for 2004 of 10% and for Sakinaw
Lake sockeye of 11.5%.

As these stocks are not distinguishable from other Fraser sockeye stocks
because of the low run size, the catch objective for Cultus will be determined
by the estimated return of Summer run stocks and a relationship between the
Summer run and Late run forecasts. For Sakinaw, the harvest limitation will be
determined by historical run timing information.

Where these stocks are expected to be present, the objectives will have the
effect of significantly constraining fishing opportunities by time and area.  
Additionally, the conservation objectives for Upper Fraser coho (up to 3%
Canadian exploitation rate) and Nimpkish Lake sockeye provide additional
limitations to the Fraser River sockeye directed fisheries.

While fishing plans are subject to changes resulting from in-season updates of
run abundance, timing and migration patterns (diversion rate), the following
generalized approach will be taken to address the stocks and species of concern:

- All commercial fisheries directed at Fraser River sockeye are expected to
commence no sooner than July 26, with the exception of some low impact
assessment/experimental fisheries.

- In Johnstone Strait and Queen Charlotte Strait to protect migrating Sakinaw
and Nimpkish Lake sockeye stocks, commercial and recreational fisheries will
not start sooner than July 23 in Johnstone Strait and July 28 in Queen
Charlotte Strait.

- To protect Late run Fraser River sockeye stocks, in the approach areas such
as Johnstone Strait, west coast of Vancouver Island, Juan de Fuca Strait and
Strait of Georgia, directed sockeye fisheries are expected to end in early to

- To protect Cultus Lake sockeye, within the lower Fraser River downstream of
the Chilliwack River, all sockeye directed fisheries can be expected to end by
August 22.

- To protect upper Fraser River coho, sequential closure measures will be put
into effect in the Fraser River commencing September 7 in the lower reaches.