Thursday, June 23, 2011

2011 Season Outlook

Here is a quick summary of what we can possibly expect for this upcoming fishing season in Skeena.
From the 2011 Draft #2 Integrated Fisheries Management Plan (IFMP):
-final version of IFMP to be released shortly apparently

-Skeena sockeye return estimated at 1.7 million: range from .8 to 3.5 million
-requires 1,050,000 sockeye for escapement and FSC purposes ( 900k escapement/ FSC 150,000)
-any return above 1,050,000 is harvestable surplus
- 4 gillnet days are forecast at this run size estimate (remember though that DFO has a sliding harvest rate scale based on the return: the larger the return, the larger the amount of harvest and effort)
-no special selective measures for gillnets (such as short net/short set) are indicated in the IFMP
-selective measures on gillnets will only be used when a conservation concern is indicated
-seine ITQ fishery expected with their extended openings, possibly up to 3 weeks of 6 days a week, 24 hours a day: (potentially high steelhead encounter rates)
-Pink salmon return: pinks are forecast to be above average for 2011 with a harvestable surplus.
However, DFO states "Directed gillnet opportunities for pink salmon harvesting will be constrained by conservation objectives for sockeye and chum salmon stocks of concern even with latesockeye in-season run size upgrades."
-pink fishery occurs after the second week of August; escapement has to be over 1 million to allow commercial fishery
-gillnetters pushing for access to any pink surplus; this could be problematic for steelhead and depressed chum stocks
-how DFO handles any large pink return will be of intense interest
-Chum stocks predicted to be below average again. Major ongoing conservation concern. DFO said to be looking 'at a major reduction in chum fishing
impacts from historical averages similar to the last few years'. Chum concerns could preclude large gillnet pink fishery and thus save steelhead from the gillnetters.
From the North Coast Salmon Update #1: June 21st, 2011
Area 3 Nass:
-sockeye return forecast to be below average
-return estimate is 440,000 sockeye
Area 4 Skeena:
-estiimate is still 1.7 million sockeye with a range from 600,000 to 6 million
-presently the Model is 'guessing' (DFO wording, not mine) 1.1 million return
-first sockeye gillnet opening not expected until at least July 12th
-first Skeena chinook gillnet fishery occurred for 30 hours on June 20-21: 64 gillnetters participated with a 'hail' catch of 850 chinook: 14 steelhead noted as released (most likely much for the large size gillnet mesh being highly size selective as DFO/Industry claim)
Tyee Indices:
Early numbers for Tyee:
Sockeye: 17.04 (2000's Average = 31.52 )
Chinook: 26.87 (2000's Average = 71.91 )
Other species too early
Information courtesy of DFO North Coast IFMP and North Coast Salmon Updates

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