Wednesday, July 08, 2009

North Coast Update #4

Here is the North Coast Update #4 just received from the DFO Area Chief's office.

North Coast Salmon Update – Tuesday, July 7, 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. Preliminary data from 3 lodges shows an average CPUE for coho. We will have better information when the Haida Creel survey data is available.

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.

Area 3 –
From Nisga’a Fisheries:
Cumulative run size estimates to Gitwinksihlkw (GW) up to July 5 are 95,000 sockeye (94-08 mean - 85,000) and 21,000 Chinook (94-08 mean - 17,000). It is still too early to make an in-season run-size projection.

Area 3 commercial fishery:
Date Gear Count Total sk catch Average
June 29 & 30 253 GN 25511 101 sk (2 days fishing) sk
89 steelhead reported released for the two days.

July 6 253 GN 12059 48
July 7 229 GN 2526 11 sk
33 steelhead reported released for the two days.

Comparison GN fleet counts:
2008 2007 2006 2005 2004
Jul 1 – 209 Jul 1 – 314 Jun 27 – 357 Jun 30 – 309 Jul 1 - 413

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 47,500 444
*Note: Averages are calculated using 658 gill nets, 107 seines

Approximate catch to date: 52,981 gill net
Expected remaining catch: Gill net 89,519 Sn 47,500

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.

Additional management measures taken in 2009 to protect chum salmon:
1. Increased ribbon boundary GN fishing exclusion zone around Wales Island from 0.5 nautical miles to 1.0 nautical mile. (Pearce Island ribbon boundary remains at 0.5 N.M.)
2. Mandatory non-retention of chum in sub-area 3-12.
3. Additional non-retention areas are being considered.

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).

Sockeye escapement is increasing, with a cumulative escapement of 137,555 by July 7th. Next week we want to see a minimum escapement of 137,000 sockeye to hold a commercial fishery. The last 2 days of daily escapements have been poor and will have to improve.

(to July 7) 2009 index 2000s average 90s average
Sockeye 182.45 301.79 192.49
Chinook 119.95 189.38 NA
Steelhead 1.14 0.69 1.23

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

Skeena Management Actions
Earliest possible gill net fishery is July 13. Announcements are usually made Thursday 2PM for the following week’s fishery, but if escapements remain low, we will assess the Tyee escapement through the weekend and announce a fishery on short notice.

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 –Fisheries are now directed on Central Coast chum salmon:

Total Catch to date: 385 sockeye; 32 pink; 2650 chum; 2228 Chinook.

July 6 -7 – 44 GN operating. Fishery under way.

Area 10- Docee fence count to end of July 6 = 538 sockeye.
Comparisons: Brood years 2005 - 276; 2004 – 3.

North Coast troll -
Overflights on June 20th and 23rd observed 99 and 80 vessels operating. No further flight details are available at this time though it is expected that the effort levels remain within what has previously been observed and reported.

Estimated Chinook catch to date is approximately 37,000 (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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