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2008

 

 

Information Document to Assist Development of a

 

Fraser Chinook

Management Plan

 

 

 


 


RECORD OF REVISIONS

 

Plan:   2008 Fraser River Chinook Information Document

 

Date last revised:      Friday, February 29, 2008

 

Version Number:        1 (this number will change if amendments are issued in-season)

 

 

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ADDITIONAL NOTES:


Table of Contents

1.      Introduction.. 1

2.      Lifecycle.. 1

2.1.  Nomenclature.. 2

3.      General Context.. 3

3.1.  Policy Framework for the Management of Pacific Salmon Fisheries. 3

3.2.  Pacific Salmon Treaty (PST). 4

3.2.1. PST Renewal 5

3.3.  Special Concerns for 2008. 6

4.      Management Objectives. 8

4.1.  Conservation.. 8

4.2.  Aboriginal fisheries for food, social and ceremonial purposes. 8

4.3.  International Allocation.. 8

4.4.  Domestic Allocations. 8

4.5.  Early timed Chinook Objective.. 9

5.      Stock Assessment.. 9

5.1.  Management Units. 9

5.2.  Lower Fraser River Stocks. 10

5.2.1. Other Populations/Watersheds of Note in the lower Fraser River 11

5.3.  Interior Fraser River Stocks. 11

5.4.  Stock Assessment Methods. 12

5.5.  Forecasts. 12

5.6.  Escapement Objectives. 14

5.7.  Albion Test Fishery.. 14

6.      Enhancement.. 15

6.1.  Chilliwack River Hatchery.. 15

6.2.  Chehalis Hatchery.. 16

6.3.  Birkenhead Hatchery.. 16

6.4.  Interior Fraser Chinook Enhancement. 16

6.5.  Spius Creek Hatchery.. 16

6.6.  Proposed New Hatchery – Willow River.. 17

7.      First Nations Fisheries. 18

7.1.  2007 Fishery Summary.. 18

7.2.  Catch Monitoring.. 18

7.3.  2008 Fishing Plan.. 20

8.      Recreational Fisheries. 21

8.1.  Fishery Summary.. 21

8.2.  Catch Monitoring.. 22

8.3.  2008 Fishing Plan.. 22


TABLE OF CONTENTS (CONT'D)

 

9.      Commercial.. 23

9.1.  Overall Commercial Fishery Summary.. 23

9.2.  Catch Monitoring.. 23

9.3.  Area E Gillnet – Fraser River.. 24

9.4.  Area G Troll – West Coast of Vancouver Island.. 24

9.5.  Area H Troll – Strait of Georgia.. 25

9.6.  Area F Troll – North Coast. 25

 

 

Table of Appendices

 

Appendix A: Albion Test Fishery.. 27

Appendix B: 1993-2007 Chinook escapement estimates to tributaries in the BC Interior and Lower Fraser.. 29

Appendix C: CTC Indicator Stocks. 34

Appendix D: 2007 Fraser River First Nations Fishing Times and Catch by Area.. 39

Appendix E: 2006 Recreational Catch Data.. 41

Appendix F:  Draft 2007 Chinook Recreational Fishing Plans. 49

Appendix G: 2007 Commercial Catches and Summary of 2004 Area H Sampling Program... 54

Appendix H: 2008 Proposed Management Measures to Protect Earliest Timed Fraser River Chinook.. 56

Appendix I: Salmon Endowment Fund.. 58

Appendix J: Additional Technical Information.. 60

Appendix K: DFO Contacts. 64

 

 

 

List of Tables

 

Table 1:  Interim Management Units for Fraser River Chinook salmon...... 10

Table 2:  2008 Outlook status for Fraser River Chinook.................................... 13

 


1.             Introduction

Fraser River Chinook salmon are an important part of the ecology of the Fraser River watershed.  They are the largest of the seven species of Pacific salmon (including steelhead and anadromous cutthroat) returning to the Fraser and have the widest distribution, with some stocks migrating distances over 900 km from the mouth to systems near the headwaters of the Fraser.  They have sustained First Nations for thousands of years, provide important recreational harvesting opportunities, and were an important part of the colonization of British Columbia and commercialization of the British Columbia fishing industry.

This information document is intended to compliment the Southern BC Integrated Fisheries Management Plan for salmon.  This document is necessary as Chinook fisheries in the Lower Fraser area generally start in March, the estimate of aggregate abundance used to determine allowable harvest levels for Chinook is also available in March but the Integrated Fishery Management Plans are usually not finalized until June or July of a given year.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada will continue to consult with First Nations, recreational and commercial fishers to further co-ordinate Chinook fishing plans for 2008.  Further consultation will occur as sector specific plans are finalized.

2.             Lifecycle

Chinook salmon spawn in numerous tributary systems throughout the Fraser River watershed from just above the tidal limits to the upper tributaries of the Stuart drainage and Tete Jaune Cache near Mount Robson.  Fry emerge from the gravel in the spring following spawning and rear as juveniles in fresh water for varying periods of time.  The time the juveniles spend in freshwater is an important characteristic of the life history exhibited by the population.  In the Fraser River, there are several distinctly different life histories exhibited by Chinook salmon.

 

Chinook life history can be categorized into two distinct behavioural forms: stream-type and ocean-type[1].

 

Stream-type Chinook spend one or more years as juveniles in fresh water before migrating to sea.  Another way of saying this is that, as juveniles they over-winter in freshwater and then enter the ocean in the second spring of their life[2].  Stream-type Chinook generally exhibit an extensive off-shore ocean migration and return to the Fraser River in the spring or summer, several months before spawning.  Juveniles of this type are sometimes referred to as “yearlings” or “1+ smolts”.

 

Ocean-type Chinook migrate to sea during their first year of life, generally after spending two to five months in fresh water[3].  Ocean-type Chinook spend most of their ocean life in coastal waters and generally return to the Fraser River in the fall, a few days or weeks before spawning.  Juveniles of this type are sometimes referred to as “underyearlings” or “0+ fry”.

 

Of importance to Fraser River Chinook is a variation of the ocean-type life history.  Harrison River Chinook (and their transplants) exhibit an immediate fry migration pattern.  That is, upon emergence from the gravel, they migrate immediately downstream to the estuary.  They rear in the estuary for three to six weeks before moving off-shore. This unique ocean-type life history is sometimes referred to as an “immediate-type” or “immediate fry migrant” life history.

 

Chinook smolts adapt to salt water in the Fraser River estuary before migrating into marine waters.  While the majority of lower Fraser stocks rear off the south-west coast of Vancouver Island (Harrison and Chilliwack fall stocks), coded wire tag (CWT) information has shown that other stocks may be found over a wide geographic area with many spring and summer run populations[4] utilizing offshore marine waters.  Other populations migrate and reside at least as far north as Southeast AlaskaDuring their ocean residence and depending on their ocean rearing location and return migrations, Chinook may be subject to numerous fisheries.  Offshore migrants such as the Interior spring and summer yearlings are less vulnerable to coastal fisheries than Lower Fraser fall stocks and South Thompson summer stocks.

 

After one to three years spent feeding at sea, Chinook return to the Fraser River from February to November, primarily as three, four and five year old fish.  They migrate back to their natal streams where spawning activity commences from early August until mid-November depending on the system.  The following spring, the fry of these returning fish emerge from the gravel and the lifecycle begins anew.

2.1.          Nomenclature

In many documents, age and life history type are expressed as a group of numbers such as 42 (Gilbert and Rich format) or 1.2 (European format).  These notations can be confusing and an attempt is made here to shed some light on what they represent. 

 

In the Gilbert-Rich (G-R) format the large number “4” represents the age of the fish on it’s next “birthday” or the number of winters from its deposition in the gravel as an egg to the time of sampling.[5]  The subscript number “2” represents the year in which the fish migrated to the ocean (i.e. it migrated as a one year-old in its second year of life).  The subscript number can also be interpreted as the number of winters spent in freshwater from the egg stage.  The 42 age format can also be expressed as 4sub2.  To obtain the parental brood-year, simple subtract the first number from the sample year.

 

A 1.2 fish in the European format is the same as a 42 fish in the G-R format.  Here, the number “1” represents the total number of complete years the fish spent in freshwater (or the number of winters from hatching the fish spent in fresh water), and the number “2” represents the total number of complete years spent in the ocean (or the number of winters the fish spent in the ocean).  To obtain the parental brood-year, add 1 to the sum of the 2 numbers and subtract from the sample year.

3.             General Context

3.1.          Policy Framework for the Management of Pacific Salmon Fisheries

Salmon management programs in 2008 will continue to be guided by policy and operational initiatives adopted over the past several years.  These include; Canada’s Policy for Conservation of Wild Pacific Salmon (WSP), An Allocation Policy for Pacific Salmon, Pacific Fisheries Reform, A Policy for Selective Fishing, A Framework for Improved Decision Making in the Pacific Salmon Fishery, and Fishery, the Integrated Harvest Planning Committee and the Pacific Integrated Commercial Fisheries Reform package.

 

Canada’s Policy for Conservation of Wild Pacific Salmon (also called the Wild Salmon Policy) sets out the vision regarding the importance and role of Pacific Wild Salmon as well as a strategy for their protection.  More information on this can be found on the internet at http://www-comm.pac.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/publications/wsp/default_e.htm

 

An Allocation Policy for Pacific Salmon, announced in 1999, is a significant step towards providing certainty and fairness by establishing clear priorities for allocation between First Nations, commercial and recreational harvesters and forms the basis for general decision guidelines used for planning fisheries.

 

Pacific Fisheries Reform, announced by the Department in April 2005, provides a vision of a sustainable fishery where the full potential of the resource is realized, Aboriginal rights and title are respected, there is certainty and stability for all, and fishery participants share in the responsibility of management.  Future treaties with First Nations are contemplated, as is the need to be adaptive and responsive to change.  This policy direction provides a framework for improving the economic viability of commercial fisheries, and to addressing First Nations aspirations with respect of FSC and commercial access and involvement in management.  Work has also been initiated in developing a vision for recreational fisheries to better understand their place in future fisheries.  Pacific Fisheries Reform is consistent with existing fisheries management policies and is central to ensuring well integrated, sustainable fisheries for salmon.

 

In January 2001, the Department released A Policy for Selective Fishing in Canada’s Pacific Fisheries.  Under the Department’s selective fishing initiative, harvester groups have experimented with a variety of methods to reduce the impact of fisheries on non-target species, with a number of measures reaching implementation in fisheries.

 

Consultative elements of an Improved Decision Making discussion paper have been implemented through establishment of the Consultation Secretariat, which works to improve the flow of information between stakeholders and the Department.  Up-to-date information pertaining to on-going consultations can be found on the Secretariat’s website at:  http://www-comm.pac.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/pages/consultations/consult_e.htm

 

The Integrated Harvest Planning Committee (IHPC) for salmon is comprised of First Nations, recreational and commercial interests (as represented by the Sport Fishing Advisory Board and the Commercial Salmon Advisory Board) and the Marine Conservation Caucus (representing a coalition of environmental organizations.  This committee is recognized as the primary source of stakeholder input into Integrated Fisheries Management Plans for Salmon.

 

Further information on salmon consultations, including terms of reference, membership, meeting dates and records of consultation can be found on the Salmon Consultation website at:  http://www-ops2.pac.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/xnet/content/consultations/salmon/sapdefault_e.htm

3.2.          Pacific Salmon Treaty (PST)

In March 1985, the United States and Canada agreed to co-operate in the management, research and enhancement of Pacific salmon stocks of mutual concern by ratifying the Pacific Salmon Treaty (PST).  Under the Treaty, Canada and the United States agreed on a Chinook conservation program (based on fixed catch ceilings in certain major mixed-stock ocean fisheries) to rebuild stocks from both countries by 1998.  This strategy has met with mixed success; some populations are slowly rebuilding, while others remain depressed.

 

Starting in 1985, Canada based its Chinook fisheries management on a rebuilding strategy.  Total exploitation rates on a brood year were reduced from past high levels in the range of 75% - 85%.  The minimum requirement of the Pacific Salmon Treaty (1985) was a 15% reduction in total exploitation of the four indicator stocks identified at that time.  This was in addition to domestic measures already in place, such as the closure of the terminal Fraser River commercial gillnet fishery, and measures required in pass-through fisheries to protect specific stocks.

 

The PST was revised in 1999 through amendments to the "fishing chapters" contained in Annex IV of the Treaty.  Chinook management changed so that fishing levels would vary in response to the annual production of Chinook salmon (aggregate abundance-based management or AABM).  If the ocean abundance of Chinook was poor, then the allowable harvest rates and catches would be reduced so that spawning escapements were protected.  However, if the ocean abundance of Chinook was very good, then harvest rates and catches could increase, but only to a level that still protected spawning escapements.

 

The 1999 PST Annexes specifies allowable landed catches under the AABM management regime for three ocean fishing areas at various levels of Chinook abundance.  These areas are:

 

1.         SE Alaskan troll, net, and sport fisheries;

2.         Northern BC troll and the Queen Charlotte Island sport fishery; and

3.         the west coast of Vancouver Island troll and outside sport fisheries.

 

All other fisheries are referred to as Individual Stock Based Management (ISBM) and will be managed to an overall bilaterally-agreed harvest rate (catch will vary with the abundance of Chinook).  Harvest rates are assessed for individual Canadian and US stocks using coded wire tag (CWT) data and the PSC Chinook Technical Committee (CTC) coast wide model to estimate exploitation rates.

 

For Canadian and US fisheries, the 1999 agreement established a general obligation to reduce exploitation rates in the ISBM fisheries to 63.5% and 60.0% of the respective average exploitation rates during the 1979-1982 base period.  If returns were less than the biologically-based escapement goal then the ISBM fisheries can be required to further reduce their exploitation rates to improve escapements.  If returns were greater than the goal, then the harvest rates (and catch) in ISBM fisheries could be increased so long as the goal was still achieved.  Only one Fraser River Chinook stock has a biologically-based escapement goal (Harrison River) accepted by the PSC Chinook Technical Committee.

 

The major difference between the 1999 agreement and the 1985 PST is the necessity for a pre-season estimation of Chinook abundance in the ocean, and the need for agreed escapement goals for each Chinook stock identified in Attachments I to V of the 1999 agreement.  Chinook forecasts are usually available in March.  The establishment of escapement goals is the responsibility of each management agency but the technical basis for establishing a goal will be reviewed by the PSC Chinook Technical Committee.

3.2.1.     PST Renewal

 

Five of the chapters contained in Annex IV of the PST are set to expire at the end of the 2008 fishing season: Chapter 1 (Transboundary Rivers); Chapter 2 (Northern Boundary); Chapter 3 (Chinook, coastwide); Chapter 5 (Coho); and Chapter 6 (Chum). Chapter 4 covering Fraser River sockeye and pink will expire in 2010.  These chapters are currently being renegotiated with the United States.  In 2006, the Parties agreed to renew the expiring chapters using the existing Pacific Salmon Commission (PSC) structure.  The renewal process was initiated in January 2007 whereby the bilateral PSC panels, under direction of the Commission, would review and make recommendations to revise the treaty language for Chapters 1, 2, 5 and 6.  The one exception is Chapter 3 (Chinook), which is being led by the Commission.

 

Both Parties have identified Chinook negotiating teams of five PSC Commissioners who, with the support of the bilateral Chinook Technical Committee, are reviewing and recommending changes to the Chinook chapter. The negotiating teams met several times in 2007 with a view to concluding negotiations on all expiring chapters at the PSC Annual Meeting, February 11 to 15, 2008, in Vancouver, BC.  With respect to Chinook, the key issue for both Parties remains the conservation and long-term sustainability of Chinook stocks.  Building on changes made in 1999, the Parties have looked at potential adjustments to the Chinook regime which will help address conservation concerns in both countries while maintaining the abundance-based management approach established under the 1999 agreement.  Once the PSC has agreed to revisions to the chapters the agreement will be referred to the governments of Canada and the United States for domestic consultation and approval.

3.3.          Special Concerns for 2008

Many Pacific salmon stocks in southern British Columbia experienced extremely poor production for brood years that entered the ocean in 2005.  The widespread pattern of poor production levels amongst Pacific salmon species and stocks is rare and perhaps unprecedented among DFO observations.  Pink salmon entering the sea in 2005 returned to spawn in 2006.  Their observed returns in 2006 were far below expectations with the pattern of poor returns extended from southern BC through Southeast Alaska.

 

Coho salmon had very low returns compared to expectations in 2006.  Coho have a predominantly 3-year life cycle, and smolts that went to the ocean in 2005 (brood year 2003) returned in 2006.  The 2006 spawning escapement to the Interior Fraser was the lowest recorded since 1975.  The pattern of extremely low marine survival and spawning escapements extended to other southern B.C. stocks, with the Strait of Georgia hatchery and wild stocks experiencing record low marine survival (since 1985).

 

Sockeye salmon return mainly at ages 3 to 5 in southern BC with most at age-4.  Smolts from brood year 2003 entered the ocean in 2005.  Fraser sockeye returns in 2007 were extremely low compared to pre-season expectations, with the estimated survival rate for Chilko Lake sockeye being the lowest recorded in over 50 years (1.2% compared with long term average of 8.7%).  In Barkley Sound, age-3 jack returns in 2006 were 10% of the long term average, indicating poor marine survival.  In-season run size estimates were two-thirds of expectations and the 2007 spawning escapement was the lowest among all years since 1992.

 

Chinook returns associated with the poor 2005 ocean entry year are expected to be compounded by apparent poor survival for the 2003 and 2004 brood years for many stocks.  In the Fraser River, Age-4 returns from the 2004 brood year and age-5 returns from the 2003 brood year will account for most of the female spawners in 2008.  The poor returns in 2007 and the over-whelming evidence of a 2005 at-sea impact suggests that returns in 2008 will be poor, particularly for interior Fraser River Spring and Summer stream-type Chinook.

 

Stream-type Chinook spend at least one year in freshwater before migrating to the sea and return to spawn between ages 3 and 6.  In the Fraser River, detailed age-structure data are collected at the Nicola River (hatchery and wild) and Nechako River, and spawning returns are monitored for three groups (spring run age 42, spring run age 52 and summer run age 52 stocks).  The groups differ in maturation schedules, about 90% of the spring run age 42 group spawn at age-4, and about 70-80% of the spring and summer run age 52 groups spawn at age-5.  Spawning escapements observed in 2007 were poor for each of these groups, returning only 11% (spring run age 42), 25% (spring run age 52), and 29% (summer run age 52) respectively of their parental brood year levels.  Age structure information sampled from the 2007 returns will not be available until early 2008.

 

The 2008 Outlook for early timed Fraser Chinook stock components suggests returns in 2008 will continue to be poor due to very poor brood year escapements and over-whelming evidence of 2005 at-sea impact.  Abundance of Fraser Chinook returning in the spring is estimated to be at 20 year lows and exploitation rates may have increased in a number of recent years[6].  The earliest timed Chinook populations are the first to return in the spring period and have peak migration into the Fraser in the March to May period.  Earliest timed Chinook populations include: Coldwater River, Louis Creek, Spius Creek, Cottonwood River, Chilako River, Upper Chilcotin River and Birkenhead River.  Poor returns are expected to continue recent spawner declines observed in these populations, with the notable exception of BirkenheadBirkenhead has had good spawning escapements possibly related to very early migration timing and far north marine distribution.  However, in the other earliest timed Chinook populations brood year escapements are at a small fraction of the estimated habitat capacity (e.g. <10%) that would maximize the harvestable surplus (see Appendix B:  1993-2007 Chinook escapement estimates to tributaries in the BC Interior and Lower Fraser).

 

As of January 1, 2008, the near normal or above normal snow accumulation in many areas provides a favorable outlook for spring and summer stream flow and water-supply.  Further updates on this topic can be found at the following web address:  http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/rfc/


4.             Management Objectives

4.1.          Conservation

Conservation of Chinook is the primary objective and will take precedence in managing the resource.

 

The Department manages fisheries with the objective of ensuring that stocks are returning at sustainable levels.  When escapements decline below sustainable levels, management actions are taken which may include reducing the impact of fisheries on specific stocks, strategic enhancement and habitat restoration.

4.2.          Aboriginal fisheries for food, social and ceremonial purposes

The objective is to manage fisheries to ensure that, subject to conservation needs, first priority is accorded to First Nations for opportunities to harvest fish for FSC purposes and any treaty obligations.

 

Consultations are on-going between Resource Management staff and First Nations, both within the Fraser River Watershed and outside the Watershed.  Feedback from consultation sessions will be relied upon to provide priority access to First Nations to fish for FSC purposes and any First Nations treaty obligations that may exist.

4.3.          International Allocation

The objective is to manage Canadian treaty fisheries to ensure that obligations within the PST are achieved.

 

Details can be found on the Pacific Salmon Commission (PSC) website at:  http://www.psc.org

 

Pre-season fishing plans are formally discussed in bilateral meetings with the United States within the framework of the Pacific Salmon Commission.  Scientists from both countries determine catch ceilings in mixed stock fishing areas (AABM fishing areas off the Queen Charlotte Islands and off the West Coast of Vancouver Island).  Each country is responsible for managing their respective fisheries to ensure these catch ceilings are not exceeded.

4.4.          Domestic Allocations

The objective is to manage fisheries in a manner that is consistent with the Allocation Policy for Pacific Salmon.

 

The Allocation Policy for Pacific Salmon can be found online at:

www-comm.pac.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/publications/allocation/AllocationPolicyoct201.htm

 

4.5.          Early timed Chinook Objective

For earliest timed Chinook the 2007 IFMP objective was:  to limit harvest levels in Fraser River fisheries to levels similar, or less than in previous years.  Further assessments are being undertaken and increased management measures in the spring of 2008 are possible.

 

Given the poor outlook for earliest timed Chinook, the Department is seeking feedback on increased management measures to reduce exploitation rates from previous years to reverse or slow declines in escapement until marine conditions improve.

 

Department staff have proposed a revised management objective for the 2008 IFMP and to guide fishery planning in the Spring of 2008 as follows:

 

The objective for earliest timed Chinook is to reduce the exploitation rate to less than in previous years.  Increased management measures for all fisheries that impact these populations will be developed.

5.             Stock Assessment

5.1.          Management Units

Historically, Chinook salmon in the Fraser River have been divided into management units based on geography and run timing.  Following a review of Chinook stock structure in 2002, they have been grouped based on life history (i.e. ocean-type vs. stream-type) and run timing in the lower Fraser River.  Until WSP Conservation Units are confirmed, the five interim management units are:

 

·                 Fraser spring-run age 42

·                 Fraser spring-run age 52

·                 Fraser summer-run age 52

·                 Fraser summer-run age 41

·                 Fraser fall-run age 41

 

Run timing is indicated by the words, spring, summer and fall and refers to the time where the majority of the population has entered the lower Fraser River.  Spring-run populations enter the Fraser before July 15th, summer-run populations enter the Fraser from July 15th to August 31st, and fall-run populations enter the Fraser after August 31st.

 

Interim management units are outlined in Table 1.

 

Watersheds may have more than one population with different life history characteristics (e.g., run timing, time spent in freshwater, etc.).

 

Table 1:  Interim Management Units for Fraser River Chinook salmon

Management Unit

Sample Streams

Indicator Stock

Fraser spring-run

age 42

Bonaparte River, Bessette Creek, Coldwater River, Deadman River , Nicola River, and Spius Creek

Nicola River

Fraser spring-run

age 52

Birkenhead River, Chilcotin River, upper Chilcotin River, Chilako River, Westroad River, Cottonwood River, Elkin Creek, Horsefly River, upper Cariboo River, upper Pitt River, Fraser River mainstem tributaries above Prince George (Bowron, Willow, Slim, McGregor etc.), spring runs of North Thompson and Salmon River in South Thompson

Willow River (proposed)

Fraser summer-run age 52

Chilko River, Quesnel River, Stuart River, Taseko, Lower Cariboo River, and the Clearwater River

Chilko River (proposed)

Fraser summer-run age 41

Lower Shuswap River, Mid Shuswap River, Lower Adams River, Little River, South Thompson River, Lower Thompson River (below Kamloops Lake), and Maria Slough

Lower Shuswap River

Fraser fall-run

age 41

predominantly fish of Harrison River origin (those natural spawners returning to the Harrison River, and transplanted populations to the Chilliwack, Chehalis, and Stave Rivers)

Chilliwack River

 

Long term escapement trends for each management unit are illustrated in Appendix B.

5.2.          Lower Fraser River Stocks

The lower Fraser River supports a number of relatively small, unique populations of spring and summer-run Chinook.  These can be either red or white-fleshed stocks that typically exhibit a stream-type life history.  Birkenhead, upper Pitt, Big Silver, and Sloquet are examples of lower Fraser River spring and summer-run populations that exhibit this life history.  Chinook returning to Maria Slough are distinct in the lower Fraser River in that they are a summer-run population that exhibits an ocean-type life history pattern.

 

Lower Fraser River Chinook stocks are numerically dominated by the fall returning, white-flesh Harrison River stock group, also known as the Fraser fall-run (or Fraser lates).  The Fraser fall-run stock group includes the original natural population of fall returning Chinook to the Harrison River, and transplanted Harrison origin populations returning to the Chilliwack and Stave Rivers. Fall-run returns to these three systems continue to be supported, to varying degrees, by enhancement.  As discussed earlier in this document, the Fraser fall-run stock group exhibits an ocean-type life history but is unusual in that upon emergence from the gravel the fry migrate immediately to the estuary where they rear for three to six weeks before moving offshore (instead of staying 60 to 150 days in freshwater as is typical of most stocks with an ocean-type life history.)

5.2.1.     Other Populations/Watersheds of Note in the lower Fraser River

 

The Chilliwack River watershed supports three distinct stock groups:

 

·                 a spring-run population that spawns between Slesse Creek and the Chilliwack Lake outlet; this population is indigenous to the Chilliwack River and is very small in abundance;

·                 a summer-run population that predominately spawns in the upper reaches of the lower Chilliwack River above Slesse Creek; this population’s origin is from transplants of mid/upper Fraser River summer-run populations and is supported by enhancement; and,

·                 a transplanted Harrison-origin fall-run population that predominately spawns downstream of the Slesse Creek confluence; this population is significantly supported by enhancement efforts.

 

Birkenhead River Chinook are a very unique early timed spring-run population that is thought to begin returning to the Fraser River as early as February.  Data is extremely limiting but peak migration into the lower Fraser River is thought to occur in early April.  DNA analysis of Albion Test Fishery catch data indicates Birkenhead Chinook continuing to be present in the lower Fraser River to mid-May.

 

Birkenhead River Chinook are subject to First Nations fisheries in the Fraser mainstem and to First Nation fisheries and a non-retention recreational fishery in the Birkenhead and Lillooet Rivers.  Recreational fishing for Chinook is prohibited in that portion of the Birkenhead River from the Birkenhead Bridge on Portage Road to the canyon approximately 10 km upstream of the bridge from August 1st to September 15th each year.  This closure is to protect these Chinook before and during their critical spawning time.  In addition, Birkenhead Chinook are far north migrating and are exploited in Alaskan and northern troll fisheries and northern marine recreational fisheries.  A comprehensive report on the status of the Birkenhead River Chinook was recently published[7].

5.3.          Interior Fraser River Stocks

Chinook salmon in the interior Fraser River (above Hope) comprise a large and complex group of spawning populations.  Interior Fraser Chinook have historically been divided into three major geographical regions:

 

·                 the upper Fraser  (those returning upstream of Prince George and including Nechako),

·                 middle Fraser (downstream of Prince George but excluding the Thompson), and

·                 Thompson (which are divided into lower Thompson/Nicola, North Thompson, and South Thompson/Shuswap).

 

Within these regions, two migration times are recognized: early or spring-run, and summer-run.  Recent work by Chuck Parken (DFO Science Branch) has identified further temporal segregation and Parken has suggested dividing the spring run into spring and early summer components, depending on peak passage times past Albion.

 

Currently, Interior Fraser stocks are assessed in the four spring and summer aggregates listed previously.  No fall-run Chinook populations have been identified to date in the Interior Fraser.

5.4.          Stock Assessment Methods

Assessment of the lower Fraser River Chinook spawning stocks rely on visual surveys, a calibrated dead-pitch project and a mark-recapture project, and coded-wire tagging of hatchery produced fish.

 

The Harrison River is the only lower Fraser River system where Chinook spawner abundance is estimated by mark-recapture methods.  This project has been conducted annually since 1984.  Since 1985, the Fraser-fall run component returning to the Chilliwack River population has been estimated with an extensive dead-pitch program.  Additionally, in certain years, visual surveys of a suite of smaller stocks including Birkenhead, Big Silver and upper Pitt Rivers, as well as Maria Slough provide some information on escapements.

 

In the BC Interior, assessment of these large stock aggregates is largely informed by annual estimates of escapement by aerial surveys, mark-recapture (Nicola River and lower Shuswap River), and electronic counters (Deadman and Bonaparte Rivers).  Trends in these spawning escapements, comparisons of spawning abundance to Wild Salmon Policy benchmarks, and the relative distribution of spawners amongst rivers are all used to assess stock status.

 

Additional technical information on stock assessment as it relates to exploitation rates can be found in Appendix I.

5.5.          Forecasts

Forecasts of the next year’s pre-fishery ocean abundance and expected escapement of Fraser fall-run (Harrison and Chilliwack rivers) Chinook are developed for use in the Chinook Technical Committee’s coastwide modeling work.  This is the only stock group in the Fraser River, and only one of two Canadian Chinook stocks, for which a forecast is currently calculated.  Additional technical information on the Harrison River Chinook, stock assessment, and forecasting can be found in Appendix J.  Quantitative forecasts for most Fraser River Chinook are not prepared by DFO.

 

The Chinook Technical Committee coastwide model calculates a forecast of ocean abundance for certain Chinook stocks in the aggregate.  This number is used to manage the AABM fisheries described in Section 3.2.  A forecast for 2008 is not available at this time, but will be by mid to late March.  Forecasts are not adjusted in-season since there is insufficient information for updates (e.g. CWT recoveries in southern U.S. fisheries are not reported in-season).

 

Although quantitative forecasts are not done for stocks managed under the Individual Stock Based Management Regime, the Science Branch of DFO does come up with a qualitative assessment of expectations for the upcoming year.  This assessment is called the Salmon Outlook and is available in a draft format by mid-November each year.  The Salmon Outlook assigns a categorical value between one and four to the various salmon stocks.  The category reflects interpretation of various available quantitative and qualitative information and forecasts as well as expert opinion of status.

 

Status Category

Category Definition

Criteria

1

Stock of Concern

Stock is (or is forecast to be) less than 25% of target or is declining rapidly

2

Low

Stock is (or is forecast to be) well below target or below target and declining

3

Near Target

Stock is (or is forecast to be) within 25% of target and stable or increasing.

4

Abundant

Stock is (or is forecast to be) well above target.

 

Table 2:  2008 Outlook status for Fraser River Chinook

 

Stock

Outlook Status

Comments

Early spring – upper & mid-Fraser, North Thompson

1

Populations of concern are upper and lower Chilcotin, Westroad, Cottonwood, and Chilako rivers.  Very poor escapements observed in 2007 with escapements averaging ~22% of brood escapements.  Very poor survivals have been observed for of Fraser salmon that went to sea in 2005.  These fish will form the bulk of returns in 2008.  No indicator stock.

Late summer – South Thompson

3

Indicator is Lower Shuswap.  Returns in 2007 were generally above brood year escapements, although mid and lower Shuswap were below brood.  South Thompson and Lower Adams were both strong.  Outlook may be tempered if 3-yr old returns to Lower Shuswap indicator predict poor 4-yr old returns in 2008

Spring – upper & mid-Fraser, North Thompson

1

Returns throughout range in 2007 were poor, averaging only 25% of brood year escapements.  Very poor survivals have been observed for of Fraser salmon that went to sea in 2005.  These fish will form the bulk of returns in 2008. No indicator stock.

Summer – upper & mid-Fraser, North Thompson

1

No indicator. Returns throughout range in 2007 were poor.  Escapements averaged only 29% of brood escapements. Very poor survivals have been observed for of Fraser salmon that went to sea in 2005.  These fish will form the bulk of returns in 2008.

Spring – lower Thompson

1/2

Indicator is Nicola. Extremely poor returns in 2005 to 2007  Continued major decline in escapements from brood year.  Returns averaged 10% of brood.  Returns in 2008 will be from fish that went to sea in 2006, when marine conditions are reported to have improved.  This may indicate a change in trend.

Fall – lower Fraser natural

2/3

2007 adult spawning estimates are not available yet, although preliminary indications are that it will meet or exceed goal.  Age specific escapement estimates are needed to evaluate 3 yr-old run strength, to predict 4 yr-old returns in 2008. 

Fall – lower Fraser hatchery

2/3

Although there are significant hatchery releases of Harrison fall-run Chinook stock into the Harrison & Stave Rivers, lower Fraser River fall-run hatchery Chinook consists mainly of Chilliwack Hatchery releases.  2007 adult spawning escapement estimates for Chilliwack and Stave (will not be available until mid December).

Early spring – lower Fraser

2

Birkenhead River escapement (~1,000 adults) is significantly greater than brood year 2002 (512 adults) and greater than the previous 10-year average. Previous to past three years, the trend in escapement was down. Returns in 2008 will be predominately from the 2003 escapement of about 427 adults.  Very poor survivals have been observed for of Fraser salmon that went to sea in 2005 (2003 brood).  These fish will form the bulk of returns in 2008.  No indicator stock.

Summer – lower Fraser

2

Maria Creek escapements in 2007 (650 adults) were slightly lower than the brood year (823).  Big Silver escapement was only 70.  Expectations are for near target abundance levels, however, returns in 2008 will have mostly gone to sea in 2005, and may have experienced poor survival.

5.6.          Escapement Objectives

With the Harrison River fall-run population being the exception (escapement goal range: 75,100 to 98,500), the escapement goals currently being used were set in 1986 following negotiation of the original Pacific Salmon Treaty in 1985.  While there were a variety of methodologies that could have been used to determine escapement goals, it was agreed to establish the goals at twice the average escapement observed during the period 1979 to 1982.  This strategy was to be used until 1998 at which time the goals were to be reviewed.  Scientists are now evaluating current information and with the implementation of the Wild Salmon Policy, discussions have commenced regarding identification of Conservation Units.  Following this, lower (conservation) and upper (target) benchmarks will be set based on input from a broad spectrum of interests.

 

More information on setting future escapement goals for Fraser River Chinook populations can be found in Appendix I.

5.7.          Albion Test Fishery

Since 1981, Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) has conducted a Chinook test fishery at Albion, British Columbia (near Fort Langley) from early April to late-October.  The test fishery is conducted each year with a drifted gillnet at a specific site near the Albion ferry crossing in the lower Fraser River.

 

For each sampling event, two 30-minute sets are made daily - just prior to and after daylight high tide.  The original “standard” Chinook net was constructed using eight-inch mesh and was used exclusively until 1997 when an experimental multi-panel net was alternated daily with the standard net.  Originally, the multi-panel net consisted of panels of five, six, seven, eight, and nine inch mesh sizes, and was fished identically to the standard net (eight-inch mesh).  The purpose of the multi-panel net was to to address questions regarding the representation of Chinook stocks captured at Albion.  Intuitively, it was expected the catch in the multi-panel net would more fully represent the wide range of body sizes of Fraser River Chinook stocks. As a result of the analysis from the 1997-2000 multi-panel net study, a modified multi-panel net has been fished on alternating days with the standard 8” mesh net every year since. This protocol continued in 2007.

 

The 2007 Chinook information document suggested that recent legal decisions from cases involving the use of fish to fund departmental activities, may affect the operation of the Albion test fishery.  This turned out to be the case for the 2007 season.

 

In response to the courts decisions, a Joint Project Agreement (JPA) was developed between the DFO and: the Pacific Salmon Commission (PSC) and the BC Wild-Harvest Salmon Producers Association (BCWHSPA).  Appropriate approval of the JPA delayed the start of the Albion test fishery.  In 2007, the Albion test fishery ran from June 18th to October 20th.

 

Chinook catch in 2007 was 1067 for the standard 8-inch mesh net and 567 for the multi-panel nets for a combined total of 1634 Chinook.  The cumulative catch per unit effort (CPUE) for the standard 8-inch mesh net from June 18th to October 20th  was 194.13 (adjusted for days the multi-panel net was fished).  This value is approximately 86% of the long term average for the same time period.  Catch information from the Albion Test Fishery can be found in Appendix A or at:

 

http://www.pac.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/fraserriver/commercial.htm.

6.             Enhancement

Egg targets, eggs taken and fry/smolt release details for all South Coast hatcheries can be found in the South Coast Integrated Fisheries Management Plan for Salmon available online at:

 

http://www-ops2.pac.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/xnet/content/MPLANS/MPlans.htm

6.1.          Chilliwack River Hatchery

On the Chilliwack River, the spring Chinook population is thought to be a mixed population of indigenous and transplanted mid-Fraser stocks.  From 1985 to 1988, mid/upper Fraser River Chinook were transplanted from Bowron (Spring-run 52), Slim (Spring-run 52), Finn (Spring-run 52), Chilko (Summer-run 52) and Quesnel (Summer-run 52), stocks.  Between 1981 and 1985, some upper Pitt (Spring run 52) white-fleshed Chinook were transplanted into this system to reportedly bolster a weak summer-run.  Harrison Chinook were transplanted to the Chilliwack River in the early 1980’s.  This population is sustained predominately through continuing enhancement by the Chilliwack hatchery.  Escapements of the spring and summer-run populations are significantly smaller than those of the fall-run population.

6.2.          Chehalis Hatchery

The Chehalis River historically had a spring/summer-run red-fleshed Chinook population that was enhanced in the late eighties with summer-run red-fleshed populations from Slim Creek and Chilliwack River.  This population arrives on the spawning grounds in late June to July with peak of spawn usually occurring from late August to early September.

6.3.          Birkenhead Hatchery

The Birkenhead Hatchery on the Birkenhead River was established in 1977.  Historical CWT tag returns indicated approximately 10% contribution of enhanced Chinook to the run[8].  The hatchery suffered devastating damage in the flood of the fall of 2003 and is now closed.  This volunteer-run hatchery was operated by the Pemberton Wildlife Association (PWA) and enhanced both Chinook and coho.  The impact of the hatchery closure is unknown, although a recent review on the status of Birkenhead Chinook suggested that, on average, the hatchery production only replaced the number of fish removed for brood stock each year.  As Birkenhead Chinook have a five year life cycle, 2007 was likely the last year in which returns were seen from this hatchery enhancement program.

6.4.          Interior Fraser Chinook Enhancement

Since the early 1980’s, the main hatcheries enhancing upper Fraser River Chinook have been the Eagle, Shuswap, Clearwater, and Spius (all Thompson); the Quesnel (mid-Fraser); and Stuart (upper Fraser).  Dome Creek Chinook were enhanced through the Penny Enhancement Society facility at Penny.  Since the early 1990’s, the Clearwater, Eagle, Quesnel, Penny and Stuart facilities have been closed.  The Penny facility is being relocated and it is anticipated that it will be rebuilt on or near the Willow River (see below).  Some enhancement still occurs throughout the watershed, mostly linked to stock assessment and the production of coded-wire tag mark groups.  Overall, enhancement is thought to have a relatively small effect on the total number of Chinook returning to the interior Fraser although the effects on certain watersheds may be significant (e.g., Nicola watershed enhanced by Spius hatchery and Shuswap stocks from the Shuswap hatchery).

6.5.          Spius Creek Hatchery

Spius Creek hatchery enhances yearling Chinook from Spius Creek, the Coldwater River, Nicola River and Salmon River (near Salmon Arm).  Coded wire tagged releases into the Nicola support an indicator stock program for spring-run age 42 Chinook of the Lower Thompson and Louis Creek.  The indicator program provides  information on harvest rates and smolt to adult survival rates.  This information is required as part of Canada’s commitment under the Pacific Salmon Treaty.  Indicator programs for Chinook salmon typically require hatchery production because capturing and tagging enough naturally-produced Chinook smolts is very difficult.  These hatchery smolts must be same size and have the same release timing as natural smolts in the system..

 

Early timed Spius Creek and Coldwater River Chinook are enhanced by Spius Creek hatchery, although the annual smolt releases are relatively small (~50K per system) compared to the Nicola release of 140K CWT smolts annually.  No CWT application is done on Spius or Coldwater smolts.

6.6.        Proposed New Hatchery – Willow River

An indicator stock is required in the Upper Fraser for Fraser spring-run age 52 Chinook salmon to provide information on harvest rates and smolt to adult survival rates.  Like the Nicola River, this information is required as part of Canada’s commitment under the Pacific Salmon Treaty.

 

The Willow River is being examined as a potential new hatchery site to provide an indicator stock for the following reasons:

        System has Fraser spring-run age 52 Chinook;

        Chinook life history provides representative timing for other upper river spring Chinook (offshore resident, migrating into lower Fraser on the freshet)

        System is accessible and “workable”

        Availability of potential sites

        Proximity to Prince George and nearby interpretive trails

        Partnership opportunity with the Lheidli T’enneh Band

 

For the Upper Fraser spring run age 52 Chinook salmon, 200,000 coded wire tagged smolts will be required to ensure sufficient recoveries of adult Chinook salmon.  200 000 coded wire tagged smolts will likely result in the annual return of 800 to 1000 extra adult Chinook salmon to the mouth of the Fraser River.  This would mean approximately 500 to 700 enhanced and tagged salmon returning to Willow Creek.  This is the minimum desired sample size required to accurately estimate returning coded wire tags.  As a comparison, releases at production hatcheries are often in excess of 1 million smolts.

7.             First Nations Fisheries

7.1.          2007 Fishery Summary

First Nations both in and outside the Fraser River are provided with an opportunity to harvest Fraser River Chinook.  The number of fishing days is dependent upon the conservation needs of Chinook stocks and other species, such as sockeye, wild steelhead and Interior Fraser coho salmon.  Alterations to fishing patterns, reached via consensus, are subject to ensuring escapement requirements are met.

 

Once sockeye enter the Fraser River, management actions are driven by considerations for those stocks and Chinook are generally harvested as by-catch.  Conservation concerns for wild steelhead and coho salmon have resulted in net fisheries being curtailed from early September to mid October in recent years.  There is no information available that would suggest this pattern will change in the near future.

 

Stock identification information indicates that those Chinook stocks entering the river from February to July 15 are bound for tributary systems in the lower Thompson basin, the middle and upper Fraser basins, as well as the Birkenhead River in the Harrison River system.  These stocks are understood to have a low productivity and individual stocks range in size from 100 to > 10,000 spawners.

 

Pre-season consultations with Lower Fraser First Nations in 2007 resulted in a fishing regime that was designed to reduce the impacts on the earliest timed Chinook stocks.

 

In 2007, selective Chinook fisheries took place in those times and places when sockeye were migrating through the river.  There were much fewer targeted sockeye fisheries in 2007 than anticipated due to the low sockeye returns.  In the Lower River (downstream of Sawmill Creek), selective Chinook fisheries utilized 8 inch mesh drifted gill nets and additional monitoring to ensure that impacts on sockeye were minimal.  In the areas upstream of Sawmill Creek, selective Chinook fisheries were largely promulgated using dip nets or rod and reel.  An experimental selective fishery was undertaken in the Siska Canyon using an 8 inch mesh set net.  Sockeye encounter limits were set and catch monitoring occurred during the entire time of the fishery.  The fishery showed that with certain site specific flow characteristics and with constant monitoring it may be possible to have a directed Chinook fishery with minimal sockeye impacts.

 

A table of First Nations fishery openings and catch for 2007 can be found in Appendix D.

7.2.          Catch Monitoring

All First Nation’s fisheries are authorized by communal licence.  The majority of areas have catch monitoring systems in place to estimate catches.  In areas where there is not a specific catch monitoring program, the fisher is required by licence to report his/her catch to the band and the band to report to DFO.

 

Areas where specific catch reporting programs have been implemented include:

 

a)     Below the Port Mann Bridge

 

During fisheries for food, social, and ceremonial purposes, catch monitoring is undertaken by Aboriginal Fishery Officers and First Nations fishery monitors who collect hail information from the fishers. This information is compiled by each band and forwarded to DFO following the close of the fishery.

 

b)     Port Mann Bridge to Sawmill Creek

 

i)  Set net and drift net fishery between Port Mann Bridge and Mission:

First Nations monitors collect hails at Katzie Reserve Dock, Barnston Island and the Kwantlen Reserve Dock at Fort Langley.  Set net fishers hail in their data by phone to band fisheries offices.  In addition, Charter Patrolmen count effort and take on-the-water hails during the Katzie, Kwantlen and Matsqui communal fisheries.

 

ii)  Set net and drift net fishery between Mission and Sawmill Creek:

Monitors are stationed at main access points on the river during openings to collect catch per unit effort (CPUE) and 24-hour effort surveys.  Sites include: Leq’a:mel, Island 22/Kilby, Skway, Scowlitz, Seabird, Agassiz Bridge, Hunter Creek, Chawathil Reserve, Coquihalla, and Yale Beach.

 

Helicopter over flights are used to conduct instantaneous gear counts between Mission and Sawmill Creek.  These over flights are conducted once during the fishery and require one flight technician on each flight.

 

Data collection forms are gathered from each of the monitors at the various monitoring sites and provided to DFO.  DFO then produces catch estimates for each opening by expanding the catch rates by effort counts to generate weekly catch estimates.

 

c)     Sawmill Creek to Kelly Creek and the Thompson River downstream of the Bonaparte River, Kelly Creek upstream to Deadman Creek and Deadman Creek to Naver Creek

 

A sample survey program during FN directed Chinook fisheries is conducted by FNs /DFO staff along the Fraser River between Sawmill Creek and Kelly Creek and in the Thompson River downstream of the Bonaparte River confluence. Fishery Technicians interview all fishers encountered during random roving vehicle patrols to obtain catch and effort information (CPUE).  Fishing effort is obtained by averaging the count of each type of active gear observed during a given week.

 

No catch monitoring program was undertaken in the mainstem Fraser River from Kelly Creek upstream to Deadman Creek during directed First Nation Chinook fisheries.  Catch and effort in directed Chinook fisheries in this area is extremely small.  Catch monitoring is undertaken by members of the High Bar Indian Band when sockeye fisheries occur in this area.  Chinook caught incidentally in fisheries directed on sockeye salmon are enumerated.

 

Very limited First Nation fisheries directed on Chinook salmon occur in the mainstem Fraser River from Deadman Creek to Naver Creek.  Accordingly, no monitoring program is in place to monitor catch in directed Chinook fisheries. Monitoring occurs during directed sockeye fisheries in this area and Chinook harvested incidentally to directed sockeye fisheries are enumerated.

 

d)    Naver Creek upstream and the Nechako River to Isle Pierre

 

Lheidli T’enneh Nation monitor each of the fisheries via collecting hail information from the fishers.

 

e)    Nechako River upstream of Isle Pierre and the Stuart System

 

Carrier Sekani Tribal Council, Tl’azt’en Nation, Nadleh Whut’en Band and Stellat’en First Nation monitor each of the fisheries via collecting hail information from the fishers.

 

f)     Thompson River upstream of the Bonaparte River

 

The Secwepemc (Shuswap) Nation Fisheries Commission monitor each of the fisheries on a census basis utilizing staff from their individual member bands.

 

g)    Shuswap River (Shuswap Falls to Mabel Lake)

 

The Okanagan Nation Alliance monitor their fisheries on a census basis utilizing staff from their individual member bands.

7.3.          2008 Fishing Plan

The objective of the 2008 harvest strategy for early season First Nations fisheries is to provide access to First Nations for food, social and ceremonial needs while respecting the objective of reducing the exploitation rate for earliest timed Chinook to lower levels than in previous years.  Fisheries in the latter part of the year are managed to protect other stocks of concern such as wild steelhead and Interior Fraser coho stocks

 

The proposed management approach is to meet the objective for earliest timed Chinook is presented in Appendix H.

 

The Department also encourages discussion among all Fraser River First Nation groups in the watershed in the development of fishing plans.  Improved discussion and coordination regarding the development of a Fraser River watershed Chinook fishing plan for First Nations will assist in addressing conservation concerns for all early timed Fraser River Chinook stocks.

 

Selective fisheries may be considered during periods of increased Chinook abundance.  Selective methods must ensure that co-migrating stocks of concern are avoided or released unharmed.  First Nations are encouraged to submit their selective fishing proposals as soon as possible.  Compliance with 2007 licence conditions for selective fisheries will be considered during the review of selective fishing proposals.

8.             Recreational Fisheries

8.1.          Fishery Summary

The marine waters off the Pacific coast of British Columbia are generally open for harvest of Chinook salmon year round.  Recreational harvest is constrained using daily and annual limits.  The coast-wide daily limit for Chinook is two.  The total Chinook annual limit is 30 from any tidal waters, of which at most, 10 may be caught in the tidal waters of the Fraser River; 15 may be caught in the waters of Areas 12 to 18, 28 and 29 and that portion of Area 19 north of Cadboro Point; 20 may be caught in the waters of Area 20 and that portion of Area 19 south of Cadboro Point.

 

Recreational harvest is further constrained using minimum size limits (minimum size limit 45 cm coast wide with the exception of a 62 cm size limit in Johnstone Strait, the Strait of Georgia and the Fraser River mouth), maximum size limits (in some areas), reduced daily quotas and closed areas.  Closed areas may be closed year-round or closed seasonally depending on local stocks.

 

Historically, the recreational fishery in the Fraser River, downstream from Sawmill Creek was open year-round with a daily limit of four Chinook and no annual limit.  In 1980, the fishery was closed to assist in rebuilding Chinook stocks.  When the fishery re-opened, it started on June 1st of each year.  In 1998, the recreational Chinook fishery was opened on May 1 based on an assessment that the additional fishing time and associated catch and effort would not compromise the long term sustainability of Fraser Chinook stocks.

 

In 2007, the Lower Fraser River recreational fishery was open from May 1st to December 31 with the exception of a 10 day closure in late August designed to protect co-migrating sockeye salmon.

 

In all non-tidal waters there is an annual limit of 10 Chinook.  Daily limits range from one to two adults per day.  In the Lower Fraser River, an adult Chinook is defined as a Chinook over 50 cm in length except during the fall when the larger Harrison origin fish predominate.  From September 1 to December 31 in those waters of the Fraser River downstream of the Agassiz-Rosedale Bridge, in the Harrison River and in the Chilliwack River an adult Chinook is defined as being over 62 cm.

 

Details on recreational Chinook opportunities may be found online at: 

 

            http://www.pac.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/recfish/default_e.htm

8.2.          Catch Monitoring

DFO obtains most of its catch information through the Creel Survey Program which is carried out in recreational fisheries that have displayed important catch and effort characteristics in past years.  This program incorporates surveys by land (access point and roving surveys) and air of active fishermen.

 

In 2007, the lower Fraser River was surveyed between Sumas and Hope from May 1st to November 30th, with the following two exceptions:

 

(a)             Due to extremely high water conditions resulting in very unfavorable angling and surveying conditions from June 7th to 26th, the survey area was shifted to the area upstream of Hope to the Alexandra Bridge (lower Fraser River Canyon). 

(b)            Due to a salmon fishing closure from August 20th to August 30th, the survey area was once again changed to upstream of Hope to the Alexandra Bridge.

 

The Chilliwack River was surveyed from September 15th to November 15th.

 

Chinook salmon recreational openings in specific sections of the Fraser River upstream of Sawmill Creek, the Bridge River, the lower Shuswap River, Mabel Lake and the Thompson River at Spences Bridge are also surveyed during their open times.  Preliminary catch numbers are available in Appendix E.

 

The Strait of Georgia (STG) creel operates from May to October and covers Areas 13 to 18, 28 and 29.  The STG creel also operates in the Victoria area, which covers Areas 19 and that portion of Area 20 east of Sherringham Point from January to December.

 

The Strait of Juan de Fuca (the portion of Area 20 west of Sherringham Point) and the West Coast of Vancouver Island (Areas 23 to 26, 121 and 123 to 126) are covered by the West Coast (WC) creel program which operates from June to September.  Fishing effort drops markedly after Labour Day.

 

The WC creel program for Northern Vancouver Island covers Areas 27 and 127 on the West Coast of Vancouver and Johnstone Strait (Area 12) from July to August.  Fishing effort drops substantially in September.

 

The Johnstone Strait (Area 12) creel program goes from July to August, the time period of most effort.

 

Information on creeled areas is provided in Appendix E.

8.3.          2008 Fishing Plan

The proposed management actions to protect earliest timed Fraser River Chinook are presented in Appendix H.

 

Tables outlining the proposed tidal and non tidal recreational Chinook opportunities in the Strait of Georgia and Fraser River watershed for the remainder of the 2008 fishing season are provided in Appendix F.

9.             Commercial

9.1.          Overall Commercial Fishery Summary

Fraser River Chinook migrating along northern (Johnstone Strait) and southern (Juan de Fuca Strait) approach routes to the Fraser River are harvested in a number of fisheries.  These fish are taken as by-catch in sockeye net fisheries (seine and gillnet) in Johnstone Strait, Juan de Fuca Strait, Fraser River and Alaska.  In addition, there are directed fisheries for Chinook by WCVI, North Coast and Alaskan troll fisheries.  Only very limited directed commercial net fisheries (i.e., 2004 Area E gillnet exploratory fishery) have occurred within the Fraser River since 1980.

 

During the last eight years, a mandatory non-retention requirement in all South and North Coast seine fisheries has significantly reduced Chinook mortalities.  Over the past few years the majority of the Fraser River commercial Chinook catch has been taken in the Area F commercial troll fishery in northern B.C. waters.  Fall-run Chinook stocks are also harvested in the Area G commercial troll fishery off the west coast of Vancouver Island.

 

The principal U.S. fisheries harvesting Fraser River Chinook are the net fisheries in Juan de Fuca Strait, the San Juan Islands area, and off Point Roberts.  The Fraser Chinook catch taken in Southeast Alaska is unknown but thought to be smaller.

9.2.          Catch Monitoring

Commercial catch data for the salmon fishery is gathered primarily from fisher hail reports, fish slips, mandatory phone catch reporting requirements, logbooks, on-board observers, offload sampling and CWT catch sampling programs.  Fish slips are required when fish are sold, offloaded or taken home for personal consumption.  The number and weight of each salmon species landed and/or sold are required on the slip.

 

DFO obtains further information about salmon average weight data through a Mark Recovery Program (MRP).  This program involves collecting salmon heads from adipose fin clipped fish from commercial, recreational and aboriginal landings.  When the samplers are at a plant, they also collect individual salmon weights to contribute to the average weight estimate.  An average weight estimate is obtained by species, and gear, MRP catch region and fishing period (week).  The average weight is used to calculate pieces from the total weight reported on the fish slips.

 

A table of all Canadian commercial catches of Chinook can be found in Appendix G.

9.3.          Area E Gillnet – Fraser River

Directed gillnet fisheries for Chinook within the Fraser River have been closed since 1980 in order to rebuild stocks.  Retention of Chinook by-catch is permitted during the in-river commercial gillnet sockeye fisheries that usually take place from late July to early September and chum fisheries in October and November.

 

In 2004, Area E Gillnet Association (AEGA) submitted a multi-year proposal to conduct a limited opportunity "exploratory" Chinook-targeted fishery.  The planned timing of this fishery was late July to mid-August, within the peak abundance timing period of the summer run Chinook aggregate. Fisheries were planned to occur during times when a commercial sockeye TAC was available for harvest.

 

Plans to continue with year two of this proposal have thus far been cancelled.

 

During pre-season discussions with AEGA advisors, the possibility of continuing the Chinook exploratory program in 2008 will be reviewed.  DFO staff will continue evaluating the status of Chinook stocks and reviewing the impacts of this fishery.  In reviewing the viability and direction of this proposal, the Department will be consulting with First Nations and stakeholders in order to make a decision about the future direction of this initiative.

9.4.          Area G Troll – West Coast of Vancouver Island

Under the Pacific Salmon Treaty, West Coast of Vancouver Island Chinook fisheries are managed through an Aggregate Abundance Based Management model.  Fisheries are prosecuted on an aggregate of different US and Canadian Chinook stocks.  Abundance forecasts provide estimates for 2 years in advance.  The Fall 2006 stock information was used to forecast the aggregate abundance of all Chinook stocks for Fall 2007 through to Fall 2008.

 

The 2006 forecast information provides for a domestic surplus of approximately 143,000 Chinook for the 2007-2008 Chinook year.  (October 1, 2007 to September 30, 2008).

 

For planning purposes, the domestic harvest levels are estimated to be:

 

·                 First Nations FSC – 5,000 pieces

·                 Recreational –50,000 pieces

·                 Area G Commercial troll – 88,300 pieces

 

It is important to note that the aggregate abundance can, and usually does change in April when stock information from the previous fall can be entered in the model.  It is likely that in April 2008, the aggregate Chinook abundance will decrease; which in turn will reduce the number of Chinook available for domestic harvest requirements.

9.5.          Area H Troll – Strait of Georgia

There have been no directed Area H troll fisheries for Chinook since 1994 due to conservation concerns.  Retention of Chinook by-catch was permitted during most sockeye, pink and chum fisheries until 2005, since then all Area H troll fisheries have had non-retention provisions for Chinook.

 

In 2004, the Gulf Trollers Association (GTA) submitted a proposal for a Chinook sampling program designed to gather stock composition information in order to determine areas and times where stocks of concern could be avoided while targeting abundant stocks.  See Appendix H for a summary of results. 

 

In 2005, a project was proposed and ready to implement if the in-season stock indicators showed a significant improvement from the weak early season stock test results at Albion.  When the project was reduced in size and co-management funding was not obtained during the sockeye season this project was cancelled for 2005.

 

Similar smaller scale proposals focusing on Area 29 and the assessment of more abundant stocks (i.e. South Thompson and Harrison Chinook) in August and September were submitted in 2006 and 2007, neither of which were implemented

 

During pre-season discussions with Area H advisors, the possibility of continuing the Chinook sampling program in 2008 will be reviewed.  DFO staff will continue evaluating the status of Chinook stocks and reviewing the impacts of this fishery.  In reviewing the viability and direction of this proposal, the Department will be consulting with First Nations and stakeholders in order to make a decision about the future direction of this initiative.

9.6.          Area F Troll – North Coast

From 2005 through to 2007, the Salmon Licence Area F (Northern Troll) fishery was managed under a limited entry licensing system with the total harvest controlled largely through fishery openings and closures.  The fishery itself was operated in a competitive "derby" style where all licensed fishers are entitled to fish in order to maximize their harvest during the open periods.  The option to continue to operate within the competitive “derby” style was maintained as well during these years.

 

Since 2005, a demonstration fishery has been conducted annually to test the feasibility and the benefits of changing the management of the fishery to an Individual Transferable Quota (ITQ) system.  The implementation of this system directly controlled the total harvest by setting limits on the harvest by individual fishers.

 

A Chinook allocation to the fleet is calculated based on the Aggregate Abundance Based Management model.  For 2007, that allowable catch of Chinook for the combined North Coast Troll and Queen Charlotte Islands recreational fishery was 178,000 pieces.  The pre-season estimate of recreational catch was 60,000 pieces, leaving 118,000 fish as the pre-season troll allocation.  The North Coast trollers landed 83,235 Chinook in 2007 and the Queen Charlotte Island recreational catch was 54,000 fish for a total Chinook catch of 137,235.

 

Chinook catches in the North Coast troll fishery were sampled and DNA analyses were conducted.  This fishery is constrained by a management objective designed to limit the exploitation of Chinook stocks originating from the West Coast of Vancouver Island.  Due to these constraints the fishery generally does not open until mid-May to early June and closes in September.  In 2007 the fishery opened on June 15th and closed on August 17 due to the excessive WCVI prevalence (31.8%) and the fact that the WCVI Chinook mortality TAC had been achieved.

 

Based on this analysis approximately 38% of the 2007 Area F Troll Chinook catch originated from the Fraser River system.  With the majority of the Fraser Chinook (90%) originating from the South Thompson River.


Appendix A: Albion Test Fishery

 

The following figures summarize catches in the Albion Chinook test fishery for 2007 and compares these catches with data averaged from previous years.  Figure 1 gives the 2007 daily catch per unit effort (CPUE) index and compares it to the average of the historical data from 1981-2006. Note that the daily CPUE index in 2007 is zero until June 18th (the start date for the Albion in 2007).

 

 

Figure 1.   The 2007 daily catch per unit effort (CPUE) index compared to the 1981 to 2006 daily CPUE index average.

***   In 2007, the Albion Test Fishery did not begin until June 18th, daily CPUE index was zero before this date.

 

 

Another more informative visual for reporting Albion catch and effort data is to compare the current years cumulative CPUE index to the historical cumulative CPUE index average. Normally, the advantage of viewing CPUE information cumulatively is it provides a clearer understanding of the total success of the year’s fishery as compared to historical averages.  However, the late start date for the Albion test fishery in 2007 (June 18th compared to the normal April 1st) made the this comparison to the entire historical cumulative CPUE data misleading.  Figure 2 attempts to show this complexity using the entire historical CPUE data set and then attempts a more suitable comparison by including a plot of only the historical cumulative CPUE data occurring after June 17th.

 


Figure 2.   The 2007 cumulative catch per unit effort (CPUE) index compared to the 1981 to 2006 cumulative CPUE index average.

 

*       entire historical data set from April 01st to October 20th.

**     historical data set from June 18th to October 20th only; cumulative CPUE index average was zero before June 18th.

***   In 2007, the Albion Test Fishery did not begin until June 18th, cumulative CPUE index was zero before this date.

 

 


Appendix B: 1993-2007 Chinook escapement estimates to tributaries in the BC Interior and Lower Fraser

 

CTC Indicator Stream

1993

1994

1995

1996

1997

1998

1999

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006 2

2007 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spring - Run Age 1.3 (52)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Upper Pitt River (Lower Fraser)

175

N/R

N/R

N/R

N/R

N/R

N/R

N/R

N/R

276

171

N/I

341

248

138

Birkenhead River 1 (Lower Fraser)

263

379

183

344

634

636

166

446

703

512

480

202

1491

1259

1968

Bridge River

950

615

851

1900

1968

626

898

769

198

969

N/I

1115

183

109

138

Chilcotin River

3100

6354

3480

2285

4000

1636

2896

2971

1574

2092

3396

1064

1509

1027

360

Cottonwood River

4470

4690

2100

1750

3329

2592

641

1208

781

1352

1555

1241

646

740

392

Horsefly River

200

4154

185

400

115

43

137

174

281

380

246

375

509

345

51

Westroad River

3200

6150

6050

4615

7206

3827

984

1600

1924

1620

2966

1366

846

1052

461

Bowron River

6140

9104

8316

4577

7334

7618

3455

3220

5491

8719

10059

8160

4074

3876

1823

Fraser R. ( Tete Juane )

3300

4240

6000

4100

2935

2586

2081

2262

4976

3913

3048

2062

2535

2142

1021

Goat River

55

293

400

440

354

302

89

212

411

820

569

174

151

158

114

Holmes River

2100

1877

2600

2775

3203

2362

523

1795

1018

3740

4110

1376

821

1458

764

Horsey River

130

N/K

120

20

75

57

14

128

78

308

288

62

34

146

22

McKale River

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

20

Present

32

9

81

49

68

78

11

17

McGregor Tributaries

N/K

1851

2412

3461

2505

4471

1870

2449

2420

3751

4103

3253

1310

1333

1041

Morkill River

N/I

1231

407

567

550

2398

1152

926

Present

Present

Present

1122

355

549

408

Chilako Creek

25

119

200

624

186

39

115

20

7

229

N/I

106

202

168

78

Endako River

20

200

125

167

43

191

171

160

275

292

N/I

N/I

252

118

26

Ormond Creek

N/R

N/R

N/R

N/R

N/R

N/R

N/R

N/R

N/R

N/R

N/I

N/I

N/I

N/I

N/I

Nevin Creek

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

161

46

62

57

132

385

238

77

174

42

Slim Creek

1300

2473

4634

2268

3130

2664

1235

2112

2876

3021

3676

2284

2161

2204

654

Swift Creek

1000

886

1700

1500

1200

1098

375

486

982

1535

835

520

335

643

328

Walker Creek

150

240

101

426

122

392

206

252

177

381

543

277

103

234

160

Torpy River

1000

1921

1590

1055

1042

2293

1819

1468

1755

2565

4457

2730

1027

1221

886

Willow River

600

1170

817

1612

1961

2041

717

1314

893

1033

1980

1887

1012

1206

377

Barriere River

50

44

21

N/K

N/K

N/I

Present

77

362

377

131

306

220

215

100

Finn Creek

1300

1837

810

1569

725

632

524

1511

1115

650

45

538

185

157

38

Eagle River

1100

1200

700

780

915

N.I.

624

1085

1397

1458

1583

867

427

521

334

Salmon River ( Prince George )

25

729

901

1054

1200

1362

823

634

478

429

2395

1681

668

544

269

Salmon River ( Salmon Arm )

1850

800

700

727

252

284

350

357

1362

1003

89

395

307

554

173

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stock Aggregate Totals

32481

52521

45382

38965

44923

40260

21892

27687

31521

41589

47106

33447

21793

20955

12145

 

1 historical escapement estimates to the Birkenhead River were reviewed and adjusted in Schubert et al. 2007.


 

CTC Indicator Stream

1993

1994

1995

1996

1997

1998

1999

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006 2

2007 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spring Run Age 1.2 (42)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Deadman River

1200

1591

540

1506

934

665

350

787

780

1940

 

1159

417

1234

301

Spius Creek

900

150

500

500

450

300

52

668

603

1012

1170

1866

291

529

64

Coldwater River

1500

275

1050

1500

400

300

267

497

781

1394

1195

1018

183

478

107

Nicola River

4000

7970

6500

16400

7614

1211

7263

8808

7771

11643

14574

7850

2926

3863

912

Louis Creek

20

510

800

420

480

377

183

611

349

481

198

105

63

297

18

Bessette Creek

270

100

280

400

N.I.

150

404

360

323

350

N/O

182

18

241

5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stock Aggregate Totals

7890

10596

9670

20726

9878

3003

8519

11731

10607

16820

17137

12180

3898

6642

1407

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summer Run Age 1.3 (52)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Portage Creek

330

36

N/R

300

N/R

18

200

46

248

445

158

103

86

248

51

Seton River

150

69

N/R

N/I

N/R

N/I

N/I

N/I

N/O

6

5

N/I

Present

N/I

N/I

Chilko River

6343

5665

10461

17000

16272

14549

8920

9171

10891

11027

21625

16287

7668

5201

4366

Quesnel River

5028

1549

3073

3100

3185

4906

1620

1718

2418

5520

5265

3356

3230

2665

1758

Cariboo River

2480

2000

817

1850

1800

936

573

744

503

1097

2198

351

526

949

546

Stuart River

1000

2420

3730

7415

6221

4642

3875

1875

1954

Present

Present

Present

Present

Present

Present

Nechako River

664

1144

1689

2040

1954

1868

1917

N/A

9331

5546

4077

5189

3217

7376

0

Stellako River

N/R

10

N/R

N/R

N/R

15

18

N/R

N/R

N/R

N/O

N/I

231

0

1895

Clearwater River

2700

5450

5100

7780

7830

7007

3837

4563

5051

5689

6234

4622

3519

3768

74

Raft River

190

935

1371

870

1230

309

712

936

237

443

311

741

109

141

38

North Thompson River

2400

4164

N/I

2375

2130

2156

3375

2732

3175

2200

1989

N/I

N/I

N/I

N/I

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stock Aggregate Totals

21285

23337

26241

42430

40622

36388

24847

21739.4

33560

31522

41699

30546

18586

20100

10521

 

Summer Run Age 0.3 (41)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Maria Slough (Lower Fraser)

N/R

N/R

N/R

100

100

150

198

266

400

1200

823

N/R

439

314

650

Adams River

800

1800

1900

2200

3400

4182

2029

2266

5890

3674

2496

2216

3837

6344

3181

Little River

unk

400

150

3000

1850

1246

1163

2043

9885

3680

2488

6000

7504

8590

7352

Lower Shuswap River

6000

10150

10000

19000

13100

16704

24691

20409

18349

19327

21380

13329

12927

28828

14503

Middle Shuswap River

2500

4000

3000

5000

3800

4474

2449

2617

3022

5442

4799

1415

1883

5468

1080

Thompson River (Bel Kamloops L.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

2015

3205

6904

18927

N/A

10010

Present

23646

8549

South Thompson River

4000

3000

5500

21600

27000

41277

22675

17560

36740

51298

38178

38592

61837

103387

58956

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stock Aggregate Totals

13300

19350

20550

50900

49250

68033

55220

48366

81190

103548

70164

71562

88427

176577

94271


 

Summer Run Age 0.3 (41)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Maria Slough (Lower Fraser)

N/R

N/R

N/R

100

100

150

198

266

400

1200

823

N/R

439

314

650

Adams River

800

1800

1900

2200

3400

4182

2029

2266

5890

3674

2496

2216

3837

6344

3181

Little River

unk

400

150

3000

1850

1246

1163

2043

9885

3680

2488

6000

7504

8590

7352

Lower Shuswap River

6000

10150

10000

19000

13100

16704

24691

20409

18349

19327

21380

13329

12927

28828

14503

Middle Shuswap River

2500

4000

3000

5000

3800

4474

2449

2617

3022

5442

4799

1415

1883

5468

1080

Thompson River (Bel Kamloops L.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

2015

3205

6904

18927

N/A

10010

Present

23646

8549

South Thompson River

4000

3000

5500

21600

27000

41277

22675

17560

36740

51298

38178

38592

61837

103387

58956

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stock Aggregate Totals

13300

19350

20550

50900

49250

68033

55220

48366

81190

103548

70164

71562

88427

176577

94271

 

CTC Indicator Stream

1993

1994

1995

1996

1997

1998

1999

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006 2

2007 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Late Run Age 0.3 (41)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Harrison River (Lower Fraser)

118998

98334

28616

56809

72277

188420

106995

125854

113777

89968

247121

128944

86730

50942

75000

Chilliwack River (Lower Fraser)

17834

6826

29820

21928

79717

78780

74945

70983

68247

58852

56995

67952

39429

53216

40318

Stave River (Lower Fraser)

N/R

N/R

N/R

N/R

N/R

1046

600

550

822

1000

1000

1000

1200

1500

NYA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stock Aggregate Totals

136832

105160

58436

78737

151994

268246

182540

197387

182846

149820

305116

197896

127359

105658

NYA

 


Non CTC Indicator Streams

Spring - Run Age 1.3 (52)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Baker Creek

300

250

250

150

292

420

47

282

268

420

423

N/I

51

N/I

N/I

Dome Creek

575

530

550

571

625

400

309

198

49

450

444

270

248

224

181

East Twin Creek

N/I

N/I

N/I

N/I

N/I

64

N/I

18

35

51

52

62

25

12

6

Holliday Creek

N/I

N/I

N/I

N/I

N/I

N

N/I

15

74

126

48

54

72

17

6

Humbug Creek

N/I

N/I

N/I

N/I

N/I

N/I

N/I

26

22

85

35

N/A

N/I

N/I

N/I

Kazchek Creek

N/I

N/I

N/I

N/I

N/I

0

Present

Present

N/O

N /O

6

8

N/I

N/I

N/I

Kenneth Creek

N/I

N/I

N/I

N/I

N/I

132

17

65

58

338

148

N/A

N/I

N/I

N/I

Kuzkwa

N/I

N/I

N/I

N/I

N/I

N/I

N/I

N/I

215

300

345

245

N/A

 

N/I

Naver Creek

250

250

150

150

777

994

57

231

240

281

489

N/I

236

N/I

N/I

Narcosli Creek

250

350

250

150

757

254

161

145

383

129

382

N/I

89

N/I

N/I

Pinchi Creek

N/I

N/I

N/I

N/I

N/I

N/I

Present

45

14

Present

15

25

N/A

 

N/I

Ptarmigan Creek

N/I

N/I

N/I

N/I

N/I

58

103

49

8

66

140

N/A

N/I

N/I

N/I

Small Creek

N/I

N/I

N/I

N/I

N/I

115

66

34

48

268

212

6

15

77

49

Snoeshoe Creek

N/I

N/I

N/I

N/I

N/I

N

N

N/I

N/I

165

66

N/I

N/I

N/I

N/I

Fraser River (Tete Juane)

3300

4240

6000

4100

2935

2586

2081

2262

4976

3913

3048

2062

2535

2142

1027

Upper Cariboo River

N/I

N/I

N/I

N/I

N/I

N/I

N/I

N/I

407

198

367

N/I

N/I

477

152

West Twin Creek

N/I

N/I

N/I

N/I

N/I

24

N/I

34

14

22

108

40

58

75

14

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stock Aggregate Totals

4675

5620

7200

5121

5386

5047

2841

3404

6811

6812

5905

2772

2637

3415

1429

 


 

Non CTC Indicator Streams

1994

1995

1996

1997

1998

1999

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006 2

2007 3

Spring Run Age 1.2 (42)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bonaparte River

1500

4283

4157

4391

10084

1864

1954

5258

6150

8216

8470

7990

3516

3995

1046

 

4000

7970

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stock Aggregate Totals

5500

12253

4157

4391

10084

1864

1954

5258

6150

8216

8470

7990

3516

3995

1046

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summer Run Age 1.3 (52)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Adams River ( Upper )

N/K

N/K

128

220

275

100

107

60

109

46

150

238

N/I

165

20

Big Silver (Lower Fraser)

N/K

N/K

N/K

N/K

N/K

N/K

N/K

N/K

N/K

363

138

N/I

243

209

62

Blue River

8

48

35

0

0

110

11

235

88

480

329

152

N/I

212

117

Chilcotin River ( Upper )

200

450

262

735

360

617

285

229

243

523

678

220

97

158

89

Eagle River

1100

1200

700

780

915

N.I.

624

1085

1397

1458

1583

867

426

521

334

Elkin Creek

450

508

786

1250

806

651

417

394

458

420

1038

N/I

N/I

N/I

N/I

Lemieux Creek

N/I

N/I

N/I

N/I

N/I

N/I

216

115

117

155

N/O

194

28

297

5

Lion Creek

12

150

65

95

N/I

N/I

34

0

3

N/O

N/I

N/I

N/I

N/I

N/I

Sloquet Creek (Lower Fraser)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stock Aggregate Totals

1770

2356

1976

3080

2356

1478

1694

2119

2415

3082

3778

1671

551

976

565

 

N/I      = Not Inspected

N/O    = None Observed

N/R    = Not Recorded

N/K    = Not Known

NYA   = Not Yet Available

Present =              Chinook seen but quality of assessment too poor to estimate escapement

 

1 historical escapement estimates to the Birkenhead River were reviewed and adjusted in Schubert et al. 2007.

2 estimates for populations in the lower Fraser River in 2006 are near final

3 estimates for populations in the lower Fraser River in 2007 are preliminary

 

 


Appendix C: CTC Indicator Stocks

 

In 1986, DFO established interim escapement goals for British Columbia Chinook stocks.  The escapement goals were set at either double the averaged escapement for the 1979-82 base period or, for key streams, double the 1984 escapement estimate.  These escapement goals are not biologically-based and consequently, they are not used for stock assessment and management of stock impacts under the Pacific Salmon Treaty.  The Lower Fraser fall run has a biologically-based escapement goal range between 75,000 and 101,000 based on a stock-recruitment analysis (Brown et al. 2001).  Biologically-based escapement goals based on habitat carrying capacity, are being developed and several examples for Fraser River stocks are available (Parken et al. 2006;  described in Appendix I).

 

The escapement information provided below is specific to the indicator stock reported annually through the Chinook Technical Committee of the Pacific Salmon Commission.  These stocks are enumerated annually, in support of Canada’s commitments to the Pacific Salmon Treaty.

 

Fraser Spring Run 52 (CTC Indicator Stocks)

This aggregate includes the Upper Pitt River and Birkenhead River stocks in the Lower Fraser, and the spring-run Chinook of the Mid and Upper Fraser, North Thompson, and South Thompson, but excluding those of the Lower Thompson (CTC 2002b). Escapements declined sharply in 2007, continuing the trend that started in 2004.  Escapement to the aggregate was estimated at 11,737 in 2007; only 27% of the brood year escapement in 2002, and similar to levels observed in the early 1980’s.


Fraser Spring Run 42 (CTC Indicator Stocks)

 

 

The Fraser Spring-Run Age 42 aggregate includes six smaller body size populations that spawn in the Lower Thompson River tributaries, Louis Creek of the North Thompson and the spring-run fish of Bessette Creek in the South Thompson (CTC 2002b).  Escapements declined sharply in 2007 to less than 10% of parental brood escapements in 2003.  The aggregate escapement was estimated to be 1407, and three stocks escaped less than 100 adult Chinook (Spius Creek – 64 adults; Louis Creek – 18 adults; and in Bessette Creek only 5 adults were estimated to have returned and spawned).  Escapements at Nicola declined from the brood year escapement of 14,574 to just 941 spawners in 2007.

 


Fraser Summer Run 52 (CTC Indicator Stocks)

 

The Fraser Summer-Run Age 52 stock complex includes 10 populations, spawning in large rivers, mostly below the outlets of large lakes.  These include the Nechako River upstream of Prince George, Chilko and Quesnel Rivers in the mid Fraser and the Clearwater River in the North Thompson watershed (CTC 2002b).  Escapement surveys of the Stuart River and North Thompson River were discontinued in 2004 due to unreliable counting conditions.  Escapements in 2007 continued to decline sharply.  Aggregate escapement was estimated at 10,521, compared to the 2002 parental brood of 27,897.

 

 


Fraser Summer Run 41 (CTC Indicator Stocks)

 

The Fraser Summer-Run Age 41 aggregate includes six populations of Chinook spawning in the South Thompson watershed upstream of Kamloops and one in the lower Fraser.  These include the Middle Shuswap, Lower Shuswap, Lower Adams, Little River and the South Thompson River mainstem, in the BC interior, and Maria Slough in the lower Fraser (CTC 2002b).  Escapements to the Summer Run Age 41 aggregate were again strong in 2007.  An estimated 85,722 Chinook spawned, exceeding the aggregate escapement of 70,164 in the parental brood year (2003). Middle and Lower Shuswap rivers and Maria Slough failed to reach parental escapement levels, while the Lower Adams, Little River and South Thompson all exceeded brood escapements.  Returns to the South Thompson River were estimated to be 58,956 adults.

 

 


Harrison Fall Run 41 (CTC Indicator Stocks)

 

The lower Fraser stock is dominated by fall returning Harrison-origin Chinook that includes natural spawners in the Harrison River and Harrison-origin fish that were introduced to the Chilliwack River.  Since 1984, mark-recapture studies have been conducted annually on the Harrison River to obtain reliable estimates of spawning escapements.  Estimates of fall Chinook escapement to the Chilliwack River are based on a procedure long established by the Chilliwack Hatchery staff for expanding the number of carcasses counted in standardized reaches of the river.  Returns to the Harrison River in 2007 were estimated to be 78,862 adult Chinook, and

31,920 jacks.  Total fall Chinook returns to the Chilliwack River were estimated to be 26,500 adults and 13,845 jacks.

 


Appendix D: 2007 Fraser River First Nations Fishing Times and Catch by Area

 

Area and Gear

Dates

Hours per Week 

Mouth to Pt Mann Bridge-drift net

Mar. 24 - Apr. 8

24 hours per week

 

Apr. 14 - Apr. 22

36 hours per week

 

Apr. 27 - June 25

48 hours per week

8” mesh 3:1 hang ratio

June 29 - July 22

48 hours per week*

 

July 28 – Aug. 6

24 hours per week*

 

September

24 hours per week*

Pt Mann Bridge to Sawmill Creek-drift net

Mar. 16 - Apr. 21

10 hours per week

 

Apr. 28- June 24

12 hours per week

8” mesh 3:1 hang ratio

June 29- July 24

24 hours per week*

 

August 9-24

24 hours per week*

 

September

24 hours per week*

Pt Mann Bridge to Sawmill Creek- set net

Mar. 16 - Apr. 21

24 hours per week

 

Apr. 25 - June 24

48 hours per week

Sawmill Creek to Thompson River –set net

Mar. 28 -  May 20

4 days per week

 

May 20 – July 1

7 days per week

 

July 1 -  July 29

Closed**

8” mesh 2:1 hang ratio

July 23 – July 27

102 hrs (2 licences)

 

July 29 – Aug 5

4 days

 

Aug 5 – Aug 12

Closed**

 

Aug 12 – Aug 19

7 days per week

 

Aug 19 – Aug 26

5 days

 

Aug 26 – Sep 30

Closed**

Thompson River to Texas Creek – set net

Mar. 28 -  May 20

4 days per week

 

May 20 – July 1

7 days per week

 

July 1 -  July 29

Closed**

 

July 29 – Aug 5

7 days

 

Aug 5 – Aug 12

Closed**

 

Aug 12 – Aug 26

7 days per week

 

Aug 26 – Sep 2

4 days

 

Sep 2 – Sep 30

Closed**

Thompson River below Bonaparte – set net

Mar. 28 -  May 20

4 days per week

 

May 20 – July 29

7 days per week

 

July 29 – Aug 5

4 days

 

Aug 5 – Aug 19

Closed**

 

Aug 19 – Aug 26

4 days

 

Aug 26 – Sep 30

Closed**

 

Sep 30 – Oct 7

Closed** (selective 4 days)

Texas Creek to Deadman Creek – set net

Mar. 28 – Apr 1

4 days per week

 

Apr 1 - July 1

7 days per week

 

July 1 – July 29

Closed**

 

July 29 – Aug 26

7 days per week

 

Aug 26 – Sep 2

4 days below Kelly / 7 days above Kelly

 

Sep 2 – Sep 23

Closed **

 

Sep 23 – Sep 30

Closed** (selective 4 days)

Deadman Creek upstream – set net

Mar 28 – June 24

Closed ***

 

June 24 – July 8

7 days per week

 

July 8 – Aug 5

Closed** ( 3 weeks per area)

 

Aug 5 - Dec 31

7 days per week

 

A table of catches for 2007 can be found in Appendix E.

* Selective fisheries for Chinook used 8” mesh drifted gill nets.

** Selective fisheries for Chinook used dip nets or rod and reel.

*** Little interest by FN’s to fish as few Chinook in this area until after June 24th.

 

2007 Annual Summary of First Nations Fisheries Chinook Catch by Area in the Fraser River Mainstem and Tributaries

 

AREA

Chinook
(directed fisheries)

Total Chinook

Mainstem Fraser

Below Port Mann Bridge

1577

1817

Port Mann Bridge to Mission

1222

1818

Mission to Hope

 

2411 

7728

Hope to Sawmill Creek

3405

5465

Sawmill Creek to Texas Creek

1125a

2234

Texas Creek to Kelly Creek

383b

829

Kelly Creek to Deadman Creek

0b

2

Deadman Creek to Marguerite Ferry

15c

74

Naver Creek to Shelly & Nechako R to Isle Pierre

104d

187

Mainstem Subtotals

10242

20154


Tributaries

Harrison River

0

2

Lillooet River System

unknown

unknown

Thompson River downstream of Bonaparte River confluence

107e

120

Thompson River upstream of Bonaparte River confluence

12f

765

Chilcotin River System

0c

12

Nechako River System upstream of Isle Pierre

n/md

1

Stuart River System

n/md

0

Tributary Subtotal

119

900

Totals

10361

21054

 

a This number represents the catch to July 29th and between Aug 5th and Aug 12th, and following Sep 9th until closure (Sep 30th)  in First Nations directed Chinook fisheries.

b This number represents the catch  to July 29th and between Sep 9th – Sep 30th in First Nations directed Chinook fisheries.

c This number represents the catch to July 29th in First Nations directed Chinook fisheries.

d This number represents the catch to Aug 5th  in First Nations directed Chinook fisheries.

e This number represents the catch to July 29th and between Aug 5th and Aug 19th, and following Sep 2nd until closure (Sep 30th)  in First Nations directed Chinook fisheries

f This number represents the catch to July 29th and between Aug 5th and Aug 12th in First Nations directed Chinook fisheries

n/m – no monitoring conducted at that time.

 

Please note, the Fraser River is permanently closed from Williams Creek to Petch Creek. Kelly Creek to Barney Creek and The Lillooet River System was not monitored.  The Harrison River upstream of the Highway 7 Bridge was also closed.

 
Appendix E: 2006 Recreational Catch Data

 

Figure 1:  2000 to 2007 South Coast Marine Creel Survey Chinook Catch Estimates by Month

 

Figure 2:  2005 – 2007 Recreational Chinook Catch by Month for Strait of Georgia and Johnstone Strait (Areas 12 to 19, 28 and 29 and a portion of Area 20)*

*east of Sherringham Point


Figure 3:  2005 - 2007 Recreational Chinook Catch by Month for Juan de Fuca
(that portion of Area 20 west of Sherringham Point)

 

Figure 4:  2005 - 2007 Recreational Chinook Catch by Month for West Coast of Vancouver Island (23 to 27, 121 and 123 to 127)

 

 


Figure 5:  2003 – 2007 Recreational Chinook Harvest by Month for the Fraser River from from the Confluence with the Sumas River upstream to Hope, BC (see notes).

 

Figure 6 Notes:

All years – Figure 6 reports estimated total Chinook catch (including adults and jacks).

2007 – Due to extremely high water conditions, resulting in very unfavorable angling and surveying conditions from June 7th to 26th, the survey area was shifted from the above mentioned area and replaced by the area of Hope up to the Alexandra Bridge.  This area switch occurred a second time when the Fraser mainstem (below Hope) was closed to all angling during August 20th to 30th.  These two survey periods are not included in figure 6.

2006 – The recreational catch monitoring surveys ended on October 9th.

2005 – The recreational catch monitoring surveys ended on September 7th.

2004 – The recreational catch monitoring surveys ended on September 10th.

2003 – Angling below Hope was closed from September 1st to October 9th.  No recreational catch monitoring occurred at this time.

 


2007 Chinook Recreational Openings and Catch - Lower Fraser River Area

Table 1 below describes where and when recreational anglers were allowed to retain Chinook on the Lower Fraser River in 2007 (downstream of the Alexandra Bridge).  Fishing was permitted during daylight hours only (from one hour after sunset to one hour before sunrise).  The daily limit was four Chinook per day of which only one could be an adult.  In the Lower Fraser River, an adult Chinook is defined as a Chinook over 50 cm in length except during the fall when the larger Harrison origin fish predominate.  From September 1 to December 31, in those waters downstream of the Agassiz-Rosedale Bridge, an adult Chinook is defined as being over 62 cm. 

The lower Fraser River recreational fishery was surveyed between the Sumas River and Hope from May 1st to November 30th with the following exceptions.  Due to extremely high water conditions on the lower Fraser mainstem from June 7th to 26th, surveys were conducted in the lower Fraser canyon from Hope up to the Alexandra bridge.  Also, the lower Fraser River mainstem, below Hope, was closed to all angling from August 21st to 30th.  The surveys were conducted in the lower Fraser canyon during this time.  The Chilliwack River was surveyed from September 15th to November 15th.  Nicomen Slough (including Norrish Creek) was surveyed from October 9th to November 30th; however, no Chinook were retained on this system.

 

Table 1:  2007 Fraser River Chinook Recreational Openings.

Dates

Area

Daily Limit

May 01-Aug 31

Tidal waters of the Fraser River.

4 per day, only one of which may be greater than 50 cm.

Aug 21 - 30

Non-tidal waters of the Fraser River Mission bridge to the confluence with Sawmill Creek.

No fishing for salmon.

May 01 to Aug 20 and Aug 31

Non-tidal waters of the Fraser River Mission bridge to the confluence with Sawmill Creek.

4 per day, only one of which may be greater than 50 cm.

Sep 01-Dec 31

Tidal waters of the Fraser River and non-tidal waters of the Fraser River downstream from the Alexandra Bridge, except Landstrom Bar which is closed to all angling from May 1 to Oct 31.

4 per day, only one of which may be greater than 62 cm.

 

Recreational catch data from the Fraser River Creel is provided in Table 2.

 

Recreational catch data from the Chilliwack River Creek is provided in Table 3.


Due to extremely high water conditions in 2007, resulting in very unfavorable angling and surveying conditions from June 7th to 26th, the survey area was shifted away from the Sumas River up to Hope, and replaced by the area of Hope up to the Alexandra Bridge (lower Fraser River Canyon).  This area switch occurred a second time when the Fraser River mainstem (below Hope) was closed to all angling during August 20th to 30th.  Results from both areas are summarized in Tables 2 and 3.

 

Table 2.  Fraser River recreational fishery assessment (below Hope) from May 1st to November 30th, 2007.  Total harvest and release (weekend and weekday data combined).  Time periods not included are June 7th to 26th and August 20th to 30th

 

 

Fraser Mainstem – Sumas River to Hope (May 1st to Oct 8th) and New Westminster up to Agassiz (Oct 9th to November 30th)

 

May       

June            

July       

August         

Sept      

October      

Nov

2007

 

 

TOTALS

Number of Interviews

59

61

1,072

1,122

2,043

1,106

404

5,867

Interview Hours

191

276

5,432

6,059

10,962

5,746

1,536

30,200

Number of Overflights

8

4

7

7

9

7

6

48

Average Overflight Count

11

39

125

329

415

76

40

148

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ANGLER EFFORT

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Estimated Effort (hours)

1,946

2,587

45,324

75,778

111,666

35,832

10,246

283,379

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ESTIMATED HARVEST

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chinook Adult

18

81

1,218

3,626

2,953

41

0

7,937

Chinook Jack

0

0

0

15

338

33

0

386

Coho Adult

0

0

0

0

8

144

16

168

Coho Jack

0

0

0

0

0

66

0

66

Sockeye

0

0

0

0

11

0

0

11

Pink

0

0

0

73

17,893

46

0

18,012

Chum

0

0

0

0

90

1,120

1,797

3,007

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ESTIMATED RELEASE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chinook Adult

0

0

0

106

179

88

0

373

Chinook Jack

0

0

0

0

83

58

0

141

Coho Adult

0

0

0

0

1,107

649

64

1,820

Coho Jack

0

0

0

0

0

377

0

377

Sockeye

0

3

689

21,724

1,548

222

0

24,186

Pink

0

0

0

204

51,949

3,360

0

55,513

Chum

0

0

0

0

536

4,937

4,595

10,068

 


Table 3 -  Lower Fraser River recreational fishery assessment (Hope to Alexandra Bridge) from June 7th to 26th, and August 20th to 30th, 2007.  Total harvest and release (weekend and weekday data combined).

 

 

 

Fraser River Canyon - Hope up to the Alexandra Bridge

 

 

June        7-26

August    21-31

Totals

 

 

Number of Interviews

194

114

308

 

Interview Hours

660

462

1,121

 

Number of Overflights

4

4

8

 

Average Overflight Count

4

5

5

 

 

 

 

 

 

ANGLER EFFORT

 

 

 

 

Estimated Effort (hours)

982

800

1,782

 

 

 

 

 

 

ESTIMATED HARVEST

 

 

 

 

Chinook Adult

8

40

48

 

Chinook Jack

0

0

0

 

Coho Adult

0

0

0

 

Coho Jack

0

0

0

 

Sockeye

0

0

0

 

Pink

0

16

16

 

Chum

0

0

0

 

 

 

 

 

 

ESTIMATED RELEASE

 

 

 

 

Chinook Adult

0

4

4

 

Chinook Jack

1

0

1

 

Coho Adult

0

0

0

 

Coho Jack

0

0

0

 

Sockeye

0

78

78

 

Pink

0

65

65

 

Chum

0

0

0

 


In 2007, recreational anglers were permitted to retain Chinook on the Chilliwack River from Slesse Creek downstream to boundary signs near the confluence with the Fraser River from July 1 to December 31.  Fishing was permitted during daylight hours only (from one hour after sunset to one hour before sunrise).  The daily limit was four Chinook per day of which only one could exceed 62 cm in length.  A creel program was run from September 15th to November 15th, 2007 on the Chilliwack River.  Results from this creel are presented in the tables below.

 

Table 3:  Chilliwack River recreational fishery assessment from September 15th to November 15th, 2007.  Total catch and release (weekend and weekday combined).

 

 

Sept          16-30

October       1-31

November

Totals

 

1-15

 

Number of Interviews

1,375

3,135

725

5,235

Interview Hours

4,630

10,292

2,518

17,440

Number of Overflights

5

9

3

17

Average Overflight Count

355

489

116

320

 

 

 

 

 

ANGLER EFFORT

 

 

 

 

Estimated Effort (hours)

52,496

132,487

14,450

199,433

 

 

 

 

 

ESTIMATED HARVEST

 

 

 

 

Chinook Adult

499

1,250

16

1,765

Chinook Jack

1,566

1,449

0

3,015

Coho Adult

1,004

6,147

406

7,557

Coho Jack

26

24

0

50

Sockeye

0

0

0

0

Pink

4,178

1,189

0

5,367

Chum

110

1,166

277

1,553

 

 

 

 

 

ESTIMATED RELEASE

 

 

 

 

Chinook Adult

787

2,127

48

2,962

Chinook Jack

1,680

2,553

31

4,264

Coho Adult

707

7,094

395

8,196

Coho Jack

35

33

0

68

Sockeye

0

0

0

0

Pink

16,826

11,502

0

28,328

Chum

111

5,124

1,538

6,773

 

 

 


 

Preliminary 2007 Chinook Recreational Catches – Upper Fraser River (1)

 

System

Time/Duration

Hours Fished

Total Annual Catch

Bowron River

July 15 – Aug 15:

7days/week

N/A

No creel survey

Chilko River

July 25 - Aug 16:

7days/week

N/A

No creel survey

Fraser River at Prince George

Jul 10 – Jul 25:

7days/week

N/A

 

No creel survey

 

Fraser River (confluence of Seton / Fraser River downstream to Seton powerhouse)

July 1 - Sept. 10:

7days/week

 

N/A

 

No creel survey

 

Cariboo River

Jul 27 – Aug 18:

7days/week

N/A

No creel survey

Quesnel River

Jul 15 - Sept 1:

7days/week

N/A

No creel survey

Bridge River

June 21 – Jul 16: