Wednesday, August 03, 2011

How much more gillnetting for Skeena??

The gillnet opening on Monday was the 4th for Area 4, Skeena. The rough guideline for fishery managers, called the IFMP (Integrated Fisheries Management Plan), stated the sockeye run estimate at 1.7M giving an estimated 4 days of gillnet time.
Through a series of ups and downs with the sockeye numbers we are currently tracking close to the initial estimate by the Department. We have now had the 4 days of gillnetting yet sockeye numbers continue fairly strong. The question becomes just how many days of gillnetting in August will the Department sanction?

The pre-season estimate for 2011 is predicted to be between 800,000 and 3,500,000 sockeye, with a point estimate of 1,700,000; therefore, only a small fishery is expected. This run size will allow for an estimated four (4) days for gillnet fishing based on recent average fleet sizes, distribution and catch rates. DFO will reserve sockeye catch for seine vessels to allow for an incidental harvest of sockeye during the directed pink fishery.

Here is the run timing overlap of Skeena sockeye and steelhead. As you can see, any gillnet openings in August start impacting a large component of the steelhead run.

Remember the Report of the Skeena Independant Science Review Panel stated 'avoidance' was the best selective technique available to managers...not the miscellaneous weak attempts to dress up a gillnet as selective such as 'short sets/short nets'. So we urge the fishery managers to avoid valuable Skeena steelhead by avoiding putting any more nets in the water in August.

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