The DFO notice of 'immediate closure' of all salmon fisheries due to conservation concerns went out Aug. 11 at sundown for the tidal and non-tidal sections of the Fraser River.

All salmon fisheries on the Fraser River slam shut to conserve sockeye

Reduced run size estimates of Fraser Summer Run sockeye salmon have resulted in 'no allowable harvest and a conservation concern' says DFO

The Fraser River was shut down Thursday at sundown to all salmon fishing due to conservation concerns about sockeye.

The notice of “immediate closure” of all salmon fisheries went out from DFO for the tidal and non-tidal sections of the Fraser.

“Current run size estimates of Fraser River Summer Run sockeye salmon have resulted in no allowable harvest and a conservation concern,” according to the abrupt notice from Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

The Summer run of Fraser sockeye is usually the strongest. Not this year.

“The Department’s first priority is to ensure that there is sufficient sockeye returning to the spawning grounds. The Department will manage all fisheries to minimize sockeye impacts and provide priority access to First Nations’ fishing for food, social and ceremonial purposes.”

Recreational anglers had been targeting chinook selectively but the risk was considered is too great for accidentally intercepting sockeye.

DFO even mentioned it in their notice.

“The Department recognizes the improvements made in the recreational fishery to use techniques to target chinook salmon however at this time all potential impacts to sockeye salmon pose a risk to conservation.

Rod Clapton, president of BC Federation of Drift Fishers, said it’s the first time in a fishery notice that DFO has ever acknowledged sport fishers efforts in this regard.

He called it “unfortunate” their selective chinook fishery was closed.

“We consider it another loss for the recreational community,” he said. Obviously for conservation purposes we support the closure, but that’s on the basis that all user groups are off the water.”

Recreational opportunities for non-salmon species like trout, steelhead, sturgeon and other species other than salmon remain open.

Chilliwack-Hope MP Mark Strahl, who is also the fisheries critic, called the total salmon closure “extreme.”

“DFO should ban ‘bottom bouncing’ during this time in order to protect sockeye, but closing the river to all salmon fishing of all kinds is an extreme measure that will have a significant negative impact on our local economy,” said Strahl. “DFO should always try to show maximum flexibility and allow recreational anglers to continue to get out on the river by allowing them to catch and release, and target other species of salmon using selective fishing methods such as bar fishing.”

DFO vowed to “continue to review sockeye stock status information on a regular basis” to inform future management decisions and fishing opportunities,” according to the Aug. 11 notice.

Cheam Chief Ernie Crey said he thought it would come to this.

“The bottom has fallen out of the Fraser sockeye runs,” he tweeted.

Crey, also a fisheries advisor to the Sto:lo Tribal Council, said he also believes DFO should shut down the test fisheries in the marine area, as well as recreational opportunities in the salt chuck as well.

But in the meantime, the total closure makes sense.

“It’s the right thing to do, although it probably should have come earlier,” he said.

Next year will be worse.

“The fish are simply not there. There is no latitude for further mistakes. Every one of these sockeye are needed.”

Chief Robert Gladstone wrote in a note that was sorry to be the bearer of bad news for Shxwhá:y Village, telling them DFO had closed the Fraser sockeye fishery.

“The returns have fallen below original predictions, and they were already bad to begin with,” he wrote on social media. At the present time it does not look likely that will see another FSC opening.”

Although folks would be disappointed, “this is reality of it what we are looking at,” Gladstone said.

“At the current time we have exceeded our percentage of the total allowable catch.”

Just Posted

Police use lacrosse sticks to rescue ducklings from Delta storm drain

Delta police rescued five of six ducklings found in a Highway 17 storm drain on June 21

OUR VIEW: Surrey mayor jumps to conclusion on police transition survey results

The real question: Should the City create its own police department or continue with the RCMP?

White Rock council opts for compromise in waterfront parking fee increase

Amendment calls for hourly rates of $3.75 instead of $4 from April to September

PHOTOS: Racers, fans and actor Neal McDonough attend Tsawwassen Soap Box Derby

The fourth annual rotary club derby took place along 6th Avenue on June 22

Astronaut David Saint-Jacques returns to Earth, sets Canadian space record

Native of Saint-Lambert, Que., set a record for longest single spaceflight by a Canadian at 204 days

Poll: Rising gas prices force B.C. residents rethink summer road trips

63 per cent of respondents reported gas prices are impacting their day-to-day finances

PHOTO: Moose cow and calf relax in Williams Lake flower garden

The homeowners got a surprise when they checked their most recent surveillance footage

Two in hospital after plane crashes in Okanagan Lake

RCMP say wheels left down caused landing plane to overturn on lake

Eight in hospital after two crashes on Coquihalla Highway north of Merritt

Drivers are expected to be stuck for up to 90 minutes

The world’s Indigenous speakers gather in B.C.’s capital to revitalize languages

Organizers estimate about 1,000 delegates from 20 countries will be at the conference

Join talks on international treaty: B.C. First Nations mark ‘historic moment’

Representatives of the Ktunaxa, Syilx/Okanagan and Secwepemc Nations participated

Companies need clearer rules on workplace relationships, study suggests

One-third of Canadians have been in love at work, and half say no policy on the matter exists

Grey-haired bank robber hit with dye pack in Langley heist

Police are looking for an older man who may be stained with dye

Most Read