Fraser River sockeye return in good numbers and good condition on way to spawning grounds

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      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."


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      Harold Steves

      Aug 23, 2014 at 3:15pm

      I was out on the river during the fish opening on Tuesday. There were over 300 boats fishing off Stevesto. At the &PM closure Steveston Harbour was filled with fishing boats unloading their catch. There were several cash buyers, but the historic pfish packer, Hesquiat, proudly flying it's Canfisco colours, stole the show surrounded with boats.

      It is ironic that in the midst of one of the biggest salmon runs on the Fraser Port Metro Vancouver would announce further plans to industrialize the Fraser with coal shipments through the estuary from Fraser Surrey Docks. Why do we have to trade a long term, environmentally sustainable fishing industry for short term gain from shipping coal and oil and other polluting, climate changing, fossil fuels?


      Aug 24, 2014 at 8:09am

      Can we get some tailings waste in river to melt off the skin of these fish? At the very least put up a net so they can get up the river. Would want them to spawn any more illegals in this country.

      7 20Rating: -13


      Aug 24, 2014 at 11:24am

      @Harold Steves

      Unfortunately the huge Sockeye returns of 2010 and this year probably helped the port, since they can say the river is healthy enough to support coal shipments. I think it's a terrible situation since these large runs may just be an anomaly and adding coal dust may just tip the scales in the opposite direction.

      7 10Rating: -3


      Aug 24, 2014 at 11:35am

      AH900...your grammar betrays your stupidity.

      David Dickinson

      Aug 25, 2014 at 1:11pm

      Where's the sea lice?

      lee l

      Aug 25, 2014 at 4:35pm

      They're being VERY quiet about that David Dickenson.


      7 3Rating: +4

      Environmental Scientist

      Aug 26, 2014 at 5:19pm

      1) Coal is not toxic to fish. For reference, sawdust is hundreds of times more toxic to fish.

      2) Coal shipments do not impact Sockeye cohort populations, neither directly or indirectly. The all time record Sockeye return in 2010 supports this. Extremely complicated factors such as food abundance related to oceanic current cycles in the Arctic are the most important. Sockeye have survived for billions of years through many global warming cycles.

      3) Commercial fisheries in BC (~$130M) represent only half the GDP that recreational fisheries produce (~290M), Forestry $5.5B, marijuana sales $7B, mining $8B. Commercial fishing is not a significant economic resource in BC.

      4) The amount of revenue generated by one year of the proposed increased natural resource export in the lower mainland will dwarf revenue of decades of all the commercial fisheries in BC combined.

      5) River access to commercial boats is not affected by the proposed projects since the lower river industrial land use footprint is not increasing, but rather brown fields and existing sites are being utilized. Vessel traffic and industrial footprint is also NOT a limiting factor for commercial fisheries, but rather fish populations are the limiting factor.

      7 9Rating: -2