The Fraser River Panel met Tuesday (July 28) to get an update on the status of Fraser sockeye migration and reviewed the status of migration conditions in the Fraser River watershed.
The run size estimate of 30,000 Early Stuart sockeye remained the same. Early Summer-run sockeye run size assessments should be available in early August.
On July 27, the Fraser River water discharge at Hope was 2,925 cms, which is approximately 36 percent lower than average for this date. The temperature of the Fraser River at Qualark Creek on July 27 was 18.4 C, which is 0.5 C higher than average for this date.
Fraser River temperatures are forecast to increase to 19.9 C by Aug. 2. Fraser River discharge levels and water temperatures will be monitored closely to determine if specific management actions are required during the in-river migratory period to help achieve sockeye escapement goals.
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The latest catches on Wednesday (July 29) in the Area 20 (San Juan) fishery showed 42 adult sockeye, nine pinks and two coho caught by two gill-netters.
At the Bonilla Point fishery one purse seine boat with six net sets caught 970 sockeye, 4,060 pinks, 30 coho and 68 chinook.
In the Area 7 reef net fishery they landed 279 sockeye, 2,066 pinks and eight chinook.
Here is what was reported in the Pacific Salmon Commission news release that came out on July 24:
The Fraser River Panel met today to review assessment data on Fraser River sockeye salmon. Marine area purse test fisheries began in Areas 12, 13 and 20 as scheduled this week.
Catches in marine area test fisheries have been low; consistent with recent years on this cycle. However, the migration of sockeye through assessment areas has been slowly increasing in recent days. The observer at Hells Gate has reported consistent sockeye migration with increases occurring in the last few days.
DNA analysis of a fish sample recently collected from the Area 20 gillnet test fishery indicated Fraser sockeye contributions of approximately 0% Early Stuart, 49% Early Summer-run, and 51% Summer-run sockeye. The Early Stuart migration through the marine approach areas has shown a bimodal entry pattern and is nearing completion. At the meeting on Tuesday, the Panel adopted an Early Stuart run-size estimate of 30,000 fish. The 50% marine timing of Early Stuart sockeye was estimated to be July 7, which is 1 days earlier than the final pre-season forecast timing of July 8 and 3 days later than the long term median timing of July 4. There were no changes to Early Stuart run-sizes today, but further changes are possible pending a more detailed evaluation of the species proportions that are applied to the acoustical estimates of salmon passage. The estimated escapement of Early Stuart sockeye past Mission through July 23 is 29,600 fish.
Most components of the Early Summer-run group are represented in samples from marine test fisheries. Early indications suggest that the Early miscellaneous group’s migration, which includes all stock components except Early Thompson, is tracking an abundance level consistent with the median forecast level (321,000 fish) if It’s timing is as expected (median timing thru area 20 of July 30). Early Summer-run sockeye run-size estimates should be available in early August after their expected peak migration through marine areas. The estimated escapement of Early Summer-run sockeye past Mission through July 23 is 53,300 fish.
The proportion of Summer-run sockeye in marine area samples has increased. Summer-run sockeye run-size estimates should be available in mid-August, after their expected peak migration through marine areas. The estimated escapement of Summer-run sockeye past Mission through July 23 is 12,100 fish.
On July 23, the Fraser River water discharge at Hope was 3,008 cms, which is approximately 38% lower than average for this date. River discharge level is forecast to drop to 2,774 cms by July 29th. The temperature of the Fraser River at Qualark Creek decreased to 19.4°C on July 23, but is still 2.1°C higher than average for this date. Current river discharge and temperature conditions have been associated with elevated migration stress and mortality in past years. After reviewing environmental and stock assessment information, and in anticipation of the potential for en-route losses, the Panel increased the management adjustment factor for Early Stuart sockeye from 0.68 to 4.18 on Tuesday. There were no further changes management adjustments today. Management adjustments are additional fish that are removed from identified allowable harvest levels and instead allowed to escape upstream to help achieve spawning escapement targets for Fraser River sockeye.
The next in-season meeting of the Panel is Friday (July 31).