Fraser Sockeye productivity for most stocks has been variable in recent years. Following the record low return in 2019 (for the period 1893-2019), Fraser Sockeye survivals fell to another record low in 2020 and have experienced overall declines in survival since 2010.
DFO has indicated that they will manage fishing opportunities for Fraser sockeye based on in-season information, but fisheries are not anticipated in 2021 for early-timed runs. And unless summer and later time sockeye return at their higher forecasted returns, fisheries are not anticipated as DFO’s spawning escapement thresholds may not be met.
Sockeye passing through and/or spawning in Lheidli T’enneh’s fishing area include Early Stuart, Nadina and Bowron (Early Summer) and Stellako and Late Stuart (later timed Summer) stocks, and their forecast returns are provided in the table below.
|Stock||Forecast (to the Fraser Approach) for 2021||Average for Cycle Year||Brood Year|
|Early Stuart||12,000 (P25) and 18,000 (P50)||204,064||15,433|
|Bowron||200 (P25) and 400 (P50)||5,470||244|
|Nadina||10,000 (P25) and 19,000 (P50)||21,222||5,322|
|Stellako||35,000 (P25) and 68,000 (P50)||59,872||91,391|
|Late Stuart||128,000 (P25) and 285,000 (P50)||366,198||147,470|
These forecasts represent weak returns for these stocks.
DFO is implementing a 4-week “rolling window” fishing closure to protect Early Stuart sockeye and other Early-timed Early Summer (Bowron) sockeye stocks which would be in place in Lheidli Territory until August 9th in the Fraser and August 11th in the Nechako/Stuart.
Chinook returning to and through Lheidli’s fishing area are a conservation concern and are anticipated to be impacted by migration conditions at Big Bar Slide. Open fisheries for these chinook are not anticipated in 2021.
If sockeye or chinook fishing opportunities materialize in 2021, updated information will be provided. And in-season updates on returns will be posted weekly.