A low run of Fraser River sockeye expected this year likely means there will be no commercial fishery this summer

Low sockeye run may mean aboriginal-only catch

Commercial fishermen not expected to get openings on Fraser River

Commercial fishermen shouldn’t count on putting a net in the Fraser River this summer.

Pre-season estimates of this year’s sockeye salmon run suggest it’s unlikely enough fish will return to the Fraser for fishery managers to approve a commercial catch.

Pacific Salmon Commission chief biologist Mike Lapointe said 1.2 million to 3.8 million sockeye are forecast to return.

That’s down from a run of five million last year and way down from the huge 2010 run of 30 million sockeye, believed to be a rare anomaly.

“It’s a fairly bleak outlook,” Lapointe said.

He admitted salmon run forecasts have been notoriously inaccurate in recent years, but said the small number of salmon that spawned in 2008 dictates that this year’s return will not be large.

“The expectation is very low,” he said.

A run of 2.1 million sockeye – the mid-point of the forecast for this year – would leave only one million harvestable sockeye after spawning requirements.

And Lapointe said that would be entirely allocated to First Nations, who get priority ahead of all other users for food, social and ceremonial purposes, leaving none available for any commercial catch.

The forecast estimates there’s a 10 per cent chance the run could exceed 3.8 million, and the same probability that it could be less than 1.2 million.

Most sockeye are expected to come in early-timed runs.

With a near-record snowpack still to melt in the Interior, Lapointe said there’s concern that returning sockeye will struggle to get upstream against a strong freshet in the Fraser and its tributaries.

A dismal 2009 return, far below forecast, led the federal government to appoint the Cohen Commission to look into a long-term decline in Fraser sockeye.

Just Posted

LETTER: Why is Jati Sidhu ashamed of his riding?

Lytton’s Christopher di Armani shares his dismay at the potential name change of the MP’s riding

Fraser-Cascade School Board votes to invest in protecting the future of its students’ hearing

Decibel monitors to be installed in secondary schools’ machine shops as a visual guide

Kent-Harrison Foundation celebrates 25 years

The foundation started in 1994 on the promise of a two-for-one donation deal

Bucket-list flight for Chilliwack grandmother

Hampton House resident treated to a beautiful plane ride in Moments that Matter

Lagoon improvements, but no safety audit recommendations, coming to Harrison

The lagoon will see electrical upgrades, a new flag pole and fencing, but no life jackets or signs

Harrison Hot Springs students bring ‘Twelfth Night’ to life

The adaption of Shakespeare’s classic comedy include songs and phrases from Canada’s east coast

VIDEO: Vancouver fall to Seattle in Game 2 of the playoffs

Thunderbirds topple the Giants 4-1 in Langley, evening the Western Conference series one game each

Calgary captain has 3 points as Flames torch Canucks 3-1

Giordano leads way as Alberta side cracks 100-point plateau

Fraser Valley Bandits draft Abbotsford’s Joel Friesen first overall

Professional basketball team reveals 13 players selected at CEBL draft

1,300 cruise ship passengers rescued by helicopter amid storm off Norway’s coast

Rescue teams with helicopters and boats were sent to evacuate the cruise ship under extremely difficult circumstances

Province announces $18.6 million for B.C. Search and Rescue

The funding, spread over three years, to pay for operations, equipment, and training

Vancouver-bound transit bus involved in fatal crash near Seattle

One man was killed and a woman injured in crash with bus purchased by TransLink

Late-season wave of the flu makes its round in B.C.

BC Centre for Disease Control reported 50 per cent jump in flu cases in first weeks of March

Most Read