Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Pity the poor chum salmon....

Pity the poor chum....the salmon that just doesnt get any respect.
Next time you are checking the google gadget hit the chum tab and see how dismally these poor fish are doing this year.

And its not just this season, chum salmon on the north coast have been depressed for several years. So much so that there are supposed to be no directed fisheries on this species at all according to the IFMP( Integrated Fisheries Management Plan) and the ISRP( Independant Science Review) Report.
Yet, their numbers continue to be impacted.

Area 3 gillnet: 14,135 killed....2755 released
Area 3 seine: 0 killed......5775 rel.
Area 4 gillnet 0 killed......6863 released
no Area 4 seine numbers yet

These numbers seem small for a stock that used to be measured in the hundreds of thousands. But now in a severely depressed state any negative impacts delay the rebuilding process. For a stock on the brink, those extra 14,000 gillnet caught chum would have been very welcome on the spawning beds.

Chum are on non-retention for seines in Area 3 and gillnets/seines in Area 4, but the by-catch mortality still exists. So a significant number of those released could have been harmed to some degree, especially the gillnet releases.
This year's Tyee Index for chum is the 2nd worst on record at 7.68 for this date. Well below the 2000-2007 average of 32.11
The worst year was 1969 at 6.82.
We dont know what the Tyee Index chum salmon statistical 'multiplier'is. But given the low overall Index number it would not be a stretch to say that a significantly high proportion of the early part of the chum salmon run met a net at some point in its migration through Areas 3 and 4 of Chatham Sound. So, directed fishery or not, chum are still significantly impacted by commercial fisheries. And when this stock is supposed to be a major concern for fishery managers, it appears the lowly chum just isnt getting any respect.

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