Monday, July 13, 2009

2009 Skeena sockeye run size

Graph showing how the 2009 Skeena sockeye run is shaping up. Also copied below is information from the 2009 IFMP on sockeye abundance and management.
According to the DFO Area Chief, an escapement estimate of roughly 1.2+ million is required to open commercial fisheries. Anything estimated below this would not permit commercial fisheries to open. As of mid last week, the escapement estimate was down to 1.3M from the initial forecast of 2 million for 2009.
The cutoff for any fishing activity is 400,000 and at under 550,000 First Nations would be consulted about limiting their food fishing activities.

Skeena River sockeye migrate up the river in an aggregate of stocks, but the individual stock groupings can be separated to some extent by run timing. At annual escapement levels of 400,000 or less sockeye into the Skeena River, fishing activity on sockeye should cease. To conduct commercial fisheries, the escapement should be predicted to achieve 900,000 for spawning purposes, and 150,000 for food, social and ceremonial purposes, by the end of the year. Thus an important in-season activity will be the continual refinement of the run size predicted for the Skeena. The pre-season estimate for 2009 is 2,000,000.

FN:Currently there is a total catch allocation in communal licences issued to First Nations bands to harvest 150,000 sockeye upstream of the Tyee test fishery. Weekly escapement estimates that
indicate an annual run size estimate of less than 550,000 (400,000 is the conservation limit below which we do not want to go, plus 150,000 for FSC) would trigger consultations with Skeena River First Nations to limit their food, social and ceremonial fisheries.

Graph and information copyright/courtesy of DFO North Coast

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