Saturday, August 28, 2010

MOE Steelhead Update to August 25th

Here is the latest Steelhead Update. Information provided courtesy of Ministry of Environment, Smithers.

Please find, attached, the Skeena Update to August 25th, 2010. This file contains the Tyee Test Fishery generated Skeena River summer steelhead index to August 25th, including daily, cumulative and escapement estimate figures, in addition to a summary table showing cumulative index data since 2000, overall and decadal averages, et cetera. Upper Sustut Fence Counts to August 24th and Moricetown (Bulkley-Morice) steelhead abundance estimates to August 20th are also included in this file.

Skeena (Tyee Test Fishery) summer steelhead estimate summary info:

The Tyee steelhead index to August 25th is 180 - well above average for this date (average: 87; worst year: 28 (’57); best year: 223 (’98), if direct comparisons between years were valid (please see caveat, below).
The Tyee Test Fishery began on May 25th this year and is scheduled to continue until ~September 24th.

The upper Sustut River enumeration weir was installed on July 31st and 32 steelhead have been captured to August 24th, below average for this date over the last decade (average: 84; worst year: 14 (2007); best year: 203 (2004).

Wet'suwet'en Fisheries began annual mark-recapture stock assessment activities at Moricetown Canyon (Bulkley River) for salmon and steelhead on the 14th of July and in the first 6 weeks of operations have captured and tagged 3385 steelhead to August 20th (978 in the beach seine and 2407 in the dipnet). To date, 109 steelhead have been recaptured in the dipnet fishery for an estimated 11 405 steelhead past the canyon to date (95% confidence limits: 9 833 – 12 525 – estimate courtesy of SKR Consultants).

Commercial fishery activity is summarized in the attached file Commercial Openings 2010 and below. There have been no further commercial fisheries since July 26th.

Area 4 gillnet fisheries:

A 30 hour gillnet opening on targetting chinook on June 24

16 hour gillnet openings on targetting sockeye on; July 12;July 26th

and the following Area 3 gillnet fisheries targetting sockeye, all 16 hour openings:

June 15;June 21;June 28;June 29;July 5;July 6;July 12;July 13;July 26

No further commercial openings are being considered at this time for either Area 3 or Area 4. The DFO reports the Skeena sockeye escapement estimate past the Tyee Test Fishery to date is approximately 939 640. The total return to Canada for Nass sockeye to August 3rd is estimated to be 339 000 (estimate courtesy of Nisga’a Fisheries).

NB: The regular caveat applies: The Tyee Test Fishery is a sockeye salmon test fishery; it is calibrated for sockeye (via Babine River Weir counts, in-river FN's fisheries). As such, Tyee catches are not standardized and therefore, comparing data between years or even individual days or gillnet sets is not valid in the strictest scientific sense. That said, the DFO use data from all salmon species for management, as we do for steelhead and the Skeena Independent Science Review Panel reported that the Tyee Test Fishery is the critical information gathering point for in-season management and for assessing abundance trends for steelhead. The fishery has operated in the same manner since 1956: a conventional gillnet vessel makes a 60 minute set with 200 fathoms (1200 feet) of net on every slack tide that occurs during daylight from May/early June to late August/early September.

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