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Commercial fishers and wild salmon advocates are welcoming a big return to BC. body of water

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The Canadian Press

The Canadian Press

Dirk Meissner

Kris Dudoward is shown aboard the commercial fishing vessel Irenda earlier this week with catch of sockeye salmon on B.C.'s Skeena River near Prince Rupert.
, caught sockeye salmon in the Skeena River near Prince Rupert, British Columbia. Photo by Mitch Dudoward /THE CANADIAN PRESS

Victoria — Summer 2022 will see Both pink salmon and sockeye salmon were bountiful in the river. A veteran Aboriginal fisherman reports the largest sockeye salmon catch in decades.

Mitch Dudoward says he has worked in the salmon industry for over 40 years, fishing the Skeena River in the northwest BC. He has never been better.

"It's the best season I can remember in my life, given the catches we've had so far," says Dudoward, who recently completed a big catch of sockeye salmon aboard gillnet fisher Ilenda. Told.

Meanwhile, Indigenous-led First He said Bob Chamberlin, chairman of the Nations Wild Salmon Alliance, has sold thousands of pink hens after years of minimal returns. Salmon said Central he was in a coastal river.

Two years after the closure of his two open-net Atlantic salmon farms in the area, he is doing well.

"We were targeting those farms," ​​said Chamberlin, whose group wants to remove open net farms from British Columbia's waters. “We removed them and two years later we went from 200 fish in the river to thousands now.

Canadian Fisheries and Ocean Service spokeswoman Lara Sloan said the department's observations indicate a return of sockeye salmon to the Skeena River in large numbers.

"The test fishery currently indicates returns for Skeena sockeye salmon are at the upper end of what is expected, with an in-season estimate of approximately 4 million," Sloan said in a statement. I'm here. "Returning sockeye populations to many areas of British Columbia, Washington and Alaska are returning better than projected for 2022." Sloan said the return was 1.4 million, averaging 1.7 million over the 10 years.

Dudoward said Skeena's sockeye season ended this week, but could last longer.

"We should keep fishing until the end of August when the sockeye stops," he said. "There's a lot to take."

But Sloane said the Fisheries Authority is paying attention to salmon stocks.

“Towards 2022, the Department plans to: To manage the impacts of commercial fishing on stocks of conservation concern, such as declining sockeye salmon populations in the wild and steelhead returning to the Sukina River. We take a more proactive approach," she said.

The Department of Fisheries also expects large numbers of sockeye sharks to enter the Fraser River this summer, but fewer returns to the northern and central coastal rivers and streams of the Chinook, Coho and Cham. expected.

"For 2022, the projected range for He Fraser River sockeye salmon is 2.3 million to He 41.7 million, with a median projection of 9.7 million," said Sloan. “The median forecast means there is a 50% chance that returns will be below that level.”

This is according to data from the Canadian Fisheries and Ocean Service. Well above the estimated 2.5 million sockeye salmon in 2021.

In his discussion of the future of open net salmon farming in British Columbia, great gains were made. water.

In 2018, the B.C. Government, First Nations and the salmon farming industry agreed to phase out 17 open net farms in the Broughton Archipelago between 2019 and his 2023 .

Harm wild salmon.

In June, Federal Fisheries Secretary Joyce Murray said the government is working with the First Nations of the Discovery Islands near the Campbell River on Vancouver Island. said to negotiate.

A final decision on the ranch's future is expected in January 2023, the minister said.

"This is an important migration route for Fraser River salmon, especially coho salmon and chinook," said Chamberlin. "If we are to see Fraser's run revived, we must see the obstacles removed."

This Canadian Press report was first published on August 10, 2022. rice field.

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