Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Another Area 3 Nass Gillnet Opening

Here is another Fishery Notice announcing Area 3 Gillnet opening #6. It is interesting to note that every species now has some concern related to it. The non-possession rules include the standard coho, chum, and steelhead. Also, several weak chinook stocks are in a "rebuilding phase" with gillnetters 'requested' to release them alive if possible. Now, DFO has added another concern with Kwinageese sockeye  being described as 'weak' with closures and reduced fishing days coming up.

According to DFO this opening and others like it in Area 3 recently have been targetting Nass sockeye. But, according to Nisga'a Fisheries, Nass sockeye are trending below average in returns right now (up to July 3rd) by about 14,000 or so over the 1994-2010 average. The recent gillnet openings have caught approximately 20,000 Nass sockeye.....hhhmmmnn, wonder if those two things are related in any way..??
(Edit: July 08: From the Nisga'a Fisheries Update:
Fishwheels are operating well at below average water levels (2.0 m versus 3.2 m) with lower catchability indices being used under these water level conditions for Sockeye while MR estimates stabilize over a 5 day period. Total catches and run sizes to date for adult Sockeye and Chinook are below average for each respective species. However, the below average status may not be that unexpected with more commercial fishing effort occurring in Area 3 over the last week than typical during non-Kwinageese migration weeks. We anticipate lower catches at the test fishery next week too followed by higher catches the subsequent week when commercial fishing efforts in Area 3 will be reduced to allow for Kwinageese Sockeye migration through the marine waters. So, we correctly surmised lower than average returns were caused by the commercial openings.)

COMMERCIAL - Salmon: Gill Net
Fishery Notice - Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Subject: FN0538-COMMERCIAL - Salmon: Gill Net - Area C - Area 3 - Opening Area 3

Gill nets open 16 hours from 06:00 hours to 22:00 hours Thursday July 7 in the following areas:

A portion of subarea 3-7 north of a line running from Elliot Pt on Somerville Island south to John Pt on Hogan Island, and thence southwest along the shore of Hogan Island to Father Pt to Maskelyne Pt on Maskelyne Island (Emma Pass closure).  And the portion of 3-7 southeast of one nautical mile off the shore of Wales Island and southeast of 0.5 nautical mile off the shore of Pearse Island (this is a ribbon boundary off Wales and Pearse Islands). 

A portion of subarea 3-12 southeast of 0.5 nautical miles of the shore of Pearse Island (this is a ribbon boundary off Pearse Island).

Max mesh 137 mm. Max depth 60 meshes, Max hang ratio 3:1, Corkline to web distance min 0 cm max 45 cm; or, max depth 90 meshes, max hang ratio 3:1, corkline to web distance min 1.2 m to a max 1.5 m. Variation Order V.O.# 2011-NCSAL-008.

The target species in Area 3 is Nass sockeye.

Note new non-possession rules:
All gill net fisheries in Area 3 are being conducted with non-retention, non-possession of chum, coho & steelhead. None of these species may be aboard a vessel that is engaged in fishing unless they are being revived in the revival tank immediately prior to release.

There are a number of weak Chinook stocks in Area 3 that are currently in the rebuilding phase. Fishers are requested to release all live Chinook to the water with the least possible harm. Operating revival tanks are mandatory and may be used to revive fish prior to release.

Kwinageese sockeye are weak and management measures such as reduced days and closures will consequently be in place from July 8th to July 28th.

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