Fraser River sockeye return in good numbers and good condition on way to spawning grounds
The Pacific Salmon Commission has revealed that nearly three million Fraser River sockeye salmon have already reached Mission.
In a statement on its website, the commission also noted that "migration of sockeye through marine and lower Fraser River assessment areas as well as past the Mission hydroacoustic site has increased over the past week".
Moreover, an observer positioned at Hells Gate has concluded that the fish are in "good condition" as they travel toward their spawning grounds.
"Though there have been some small increases in the purse seine test fishery catches on the Juan de Fuca route over the last few days, extremely high fractions of Fraser sockeye continue to be migrating via the Johnstone Strait route, an estimate of more than 95% for the past week, which is unprecedented," the commission stated.
The Fraser River panel has concluded that the estimated escapement of Early Summer-run sockeye past Mission is 1,015,200 fish.
The estimate for escapement of Summer-run sockeye past Mission is 1,835,000 fish.
These estimates are for fish passing through by August 21.
It's still too early to estimate seasonal escapement of late-run sockeye past Mission, though 351,000 of these fish had already arrived by August 21.
When there has been a good return of wild salmon in the past, supporters of B.C.'s aquaculture industry have said it proves that fish farms are not as harmful as critics have suggested.
The Georgia Strait Alliance has maintained, however, that a good return of sockeye "does not let fish farms off the hook".
"True recovery," it states on its website, "requires healthy returns across the many different subgroups of Fraser River sockeye and for multiple years in a row. The maintenance of sockeye diversity in the Fraser is key as it maximizes the sockeye's ability to adapt over the long term, and maximizes the chance of a healthy return every year."