Thursday, August 25, 2011

MOE Skeena Update to Aug.24th,2011

Here is the latest Skeena Steelhead Update from the FLNRO Ministry (aka Ministry of Environment)

Please find, attached, the Skeena Update to August 24th, 2011. This file contains the Tyee Test Fishery generated Skeena River summer steelhead index to August 23rd, including daily, cumulative and escapement estimate figures, in addition to a summary table showing cumulative index data since 1998, overall and decadal averages, et cetera.
The Tyee Test Index to the August 23rd is 97, 56% of last year’s index to the same date and above the all years’ average (worst year: 1957 = 26; best year: 1998 = 220; average of all years since 1956 = 85).
The Moricetown (Bulkley-Morice) mark-recapture fishery began on July 27th, and was again facing high water related challenges this past week; water levels rose substantially on the 22nd making dipnet fishing difficult from river left. Between August 1 and August 18th, beach seine crews tagged 116 steelhead, 15% of the 776 steelhead tagged at the beach seine for the same time period last year. To date, 279 steelhead have been examined in the dip net fishery, seven of which were previously marked.
The Upper Sustut River Enumeration Weir was installed and began fishing on July 31st. Sixty-four steelhead have been captured to date, double the number to this date last year.
As of August 24th, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans estimate the Skeena sockeye aggregate escapement past Tyee to be 1.48 million.
The DFO reports that commercial fishing activity in the Skeena River approach waters are likely complete for this season. Commercial fishing activity to date can be found in the attached: Commercial Openings 2011.
Please contact me with questions/comments.
All the best.
Mark Beere
Senior Fisheries Biologist
Fish and Wildlife Branch
BC Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations
3726 Alfred Ave.
Bag 5000
Smithers, BC
V0J 2N0
250.847.7297 (phone)
250.847.7728 (facsimile)
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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