Saturday, August 15, 2009

Seiners and pink salmon

While the lack of Skeena sockeye opportunity has hurt the gillnet fleet, the seine fleet is benefitting from what looks like a bumper crop of pink salmon.
The catch stats bear this out with the Area 3 seine pink catch at 809,175 up to Aug 10th. Add in another 164,000 pinks in Area 4 so far. But the big haul came from Area 6 where just over 5 million pinks were caught (5,082,136). (See map)
The total catch of pink salmon in all northern areas is 6,060,311 so far this season.

The bulk of the seine fleet (upwards of 50 boats) is focussing on the Area 6 pink abundance, leaving only a few boats working the Skeena. For example, on Aug. 10th only 8 seiners fished Skeena. This means the bycatch impacts on Skeena steelhead will be significantly lessened.
More pink openings are probably planned for Skeena in the coming weeks and we'll follow the seine participation levels closely.

(For comparison: The average total catch of pink in southeast Alaskan gillnet and seine fisheries in Districts 101 to 104 is ~28,000,000 pink from odd year returns between 1999 and 2008 )

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