Wednesday, July 20, 2011

DFO North Coast Updates to July 18th.

The latest DFO North Coast Salmon Update is out and can be found here. DFO North Coast Updates

Some highlights:
Area 4 Skeena Sockeye:
DFO states that "...on average, 35% of the aggregate Skeena sockeye return has passed the Tyee Test Fishery by July 18th." It now appears the return estimate has been downgraded from 1.86M to 1.34M, with a range possible of .86 to 3.39M. The Department forecasts a total Skeena sockeye return of 1.5M when using an assumed Alaskan exploitation rate 5 year average.
With the return downgraded, the exploitation rate has also been reduced. The allowable Canadian commercial exploitation rate is down to 10% under the IFMP (Fisheries Plan). This allows for the catch of approximately 143,000 sockeye.
Overall, looks like the sockeye return is fading.

In the 2 Skeena gillnet openings so far between 230 to 250 boats have participated. This is more than the Area 3 Nass participation that saw only 130 or so gillnetters.

In amongst the 70,000 or so Skeena sockeye caught, the gillnetters 'reported' 77 steelhead being released. Apparently, there is an observer program for these fisheries but no reports of their observations have become public yet. It will be interesting to see the comparison of steelhead encountered between boats with and without observers on board.

The July 18th Update goes on to say that "....large tides are subsiding so we expect to see a pulse of sockeye in the next few days. Pink catches have increased slightly."

Area 3 Nass: Closed until the 28th of July due to conservation concerns with Kwinageese sockeye.

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