Thursday, July 02, 2009

North Coast Salmon Update #3

Just received Update #3 from the DFO Area Chief.

Items of interest include;
-sockeye and chinook in Nass above average returns for the period
-Nass gillnet openings encountering steelhead ( 52 'reported' since June 16)
-concern over high chum bycatch in the gillnet openings in Area 3; and a management decision to close sub-Area 3-12 for chum retention next opening
-next opening July 6-7 for Area 3; 2 full days in a row
-Area 4: 79 reported steelhead releases in the 2 gillnet chinook openings (DFO/industry says large mesh chinook nets only catch chinook??? wrong, of course they catch anything else....even skinny steelhead kelts...another commercial myth busted)
-Skeena sockeye Index very low...lowest since 1999....concerns over run size starting...forecast has to be 1.2M for commercial fishing to take place

Read the full Update

North Coast Salmon Update – Thursday, July 2, 2009

Please note that in-season updates always deal in preliminary numbers. Usually these change somewhat upon receipt and analysis of all the data.

Area 1 – Anecdotal reports of good coho catches in the recreational fishery. One lodge reports last week’s coho catch was 124, in 2008 in the same week it was 17. Chinook catch to date is about 30 – 50% less than last year, which is likely due to decreased effort. CPUE is slightly higher than last year.

First in-season update from the creel census will be coming soon.

Area 3 –

From Nisga’a Fisheries:

Cumulative run size estimates to Gitwinksihlkw (GW) up to 30 June are 89,000 sockeye (94-08 mean - 55,000) and 18,600 Chinook (94-08 mean - 11,500).

Area 3 commercial fishery:

Date Gear Count Total sk catch Average

June 16 146 gill nets 6795 sockeye 47 sockeye

June 23 224 gill nets 5773 sockeye 26 sockeye

June 29 & 30 234 gn ~ 14,000 sk ~56 sk (data still coming in)

Reported steelhead releases: June 16 – 19 released; June 23 – 33 released.

Of concern is the high chum catch in Area 3 fishery. While this high catch may indicate a good return, it is uncertain at this time if the good return is to Alaskan streams only, or whether it includes Area 3 streams as well. As a precaution and to protect Area 3 streams, 3-12 will be closed to retention of chum salmon in the coming opening (July 6 – 7).

Expected Nass sockeye return to Canada is 515,000. 325,000 are reserved for escapement needs and fulfilling FSC and treaty requirements. This leaves approximately 190,000 available for commercial harvest. Of these, approximately 75% are expected to be harvested by gill net, and 25% by seine (this is approximate only, because the allocative split actually includes the Skeena and Nass combined). Therefore, the expectations are:

Gill net Gill net Seine Seine

TAC allocation average allocation average

190,000 142,500 217 sockeye 47,500 436

Approximate catch to date: 25,000 gill net
Expected remaining catch: Gill net 165,000 (av. 250) Sn 47,500 (av. 436)

Area 4 – Tyee test fishery began operations May 25. However, all cumulative indices were zeroed starting June 10, to enable comparisons between this year and previous years (June 10 being the usual starting date).

Reported steelhead releases in the two Area 4 Chinook fisheries: 79 steelhead total.

Sockeye index is very low to date. By end of July 1, it was 65.51. This is the lowest since 1999. However, good moving tides this week should result in an increase.

Index 2000s average 90s average

Sockeye 65.51 162.87 97.45

Chinook 90.25 149.83 108.58

Too early for any other species in the Tyee test fishery.

Skeena Management Actions
Earliest possible fishery is July 13. However, run size will have to show considerable improvement prior to any fishery being announced.

Anecdotally, Chatham Sound recreational fishery is better than last year for both Chinook and coho. First in-season update from the creel census should be available mid-July.

Area 8 –These fisheries are directed at Atnarko Chinook:

June 29 – 56 gn; 1089 Ck, 2510 ch.

June 30 – info still to come

Total to date (TTD) 2228 Ck; 2650 chum

Chum nets now in use, fishery is switching to a directed chum fishery.

North Coast troll - Estimated Chinook catch to date is approximately 35,000 (from the TAC of 93,000).

First DNA results were obtained, which indicate a WCVI presence of 1.8% of the catch. Main contributors were South Thompson (26.6%), upper Columbia (17%) and Oregon (13.3%). Skeena was at 7.7%, and Nass zero. The WCVI amount is well below the limit, and so no management action is proposed at this time.

The A-B line pink fishery opened on July 1, with retention of pink, coho, and sockeye allowed. In the past, only a very few boats have participated in this fishery.

General coho opening is scheduled for July 22.

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