Fraser River sockeye salmon "commercially extinct", Sto:lo advisor says
Are the Fraser River sockeye “commercially extinct”?
Ernie Crey, fisheries advisor to the Sto:lo Tribal Council, says so.
Crey explains in the following press release:
August 28, 2009
For Immediate Release
Fraser River Sockeye Salmon Commercially Extinct
The fisheries advisor to the Sto:lo Tribal Council, Ernie Crey, says that Fraser River Sockeye is now commercially extinct. He says that in the summer of both 2007 and 2008 sockeye salmon failed to make it back to the Fraser River in large enough numbers to support commercial fishing in either U.S. or Canadian waters. “While it’s true that in 2008 Canada picked up a meager 16,100 sockeye in commercial fisheries and the U.S. fleet snagged 46,000 sockeye, these fisheries qualified more as an embarrassment than an actual fishery”, said Crey. And he says that the summer of 2007, in so far as Fraser sockeye was concerned, was a complete washout for both the U.S. and Canada.
Crey said that salmon experts at both the Pacific Salmon Commission and the Department of Fisheries & Oceans, predicted that 10.6 million sockeye would come back to the Fraser River this summer. “A fish run of that size would have permitted commercial exploitation of Fraser sockeye by both the U.S. and Canada, unfortunately the forecast was wildly optimistic with fewer than 2 million sockeye actually showing up”. He said everyone is now starting to count down the days to next summer when another big sockeye run to the Fraser is expected. “I hope next summer does turn out to be a banner year for Fraser sockeye, but there is a strong possibility 2010 will be a carbon copy of 2009 and we should plan accordingly”, said Crey.
“We need to face up to the facts about Fraser sockeye. The summer of 2010 could be a bust for Fraser sockeye and, we already know that the following two summers will take us back to two successive low cycle years for sockeye. And the fish from this year’s spawning population will come back to the Fraser in 2013. This means we are staring four straight years of no commercial sockeye fishing squarely in the face. There is no way to candy coat the next four summers, Fraser sockeye are now commercially extinct for the foreseeable future”, said Crey.
Crey said that both the First Nations Fisheries Council and the Sto: lo Tribal Council has asked the Fisheries Minister to help organize a salmon summit to address the Fraser River salmon calamity, but they have yet to hear from the Minister’s Office.