Tag Archives: Fraser River

Female Sockeye salmon are dying at higher rates than males

Female adult sockeye from the Fraser River are dying at significantly higher rates than their male counterparts on the journey back to their spawning grounds, “This is causing skewed sex ratios in their spawning grounds, something that has been observed in recent years,” says lead researcher Dr. Scott Hinch, a professor in the faculty of forestry and head of the Pacific Salmon Ecology and Conservation Laboratory at UBC. “The implications on the health of Fraser River stocks are concerning, particularly as Pacific salmon populations in British Columbia have been declining over the past several decades.” >click to read< 15:48

Permanent fish-passage solutions considered at Big Bar landslide

As most salmon are now moving past the Big Bar landslide on their own effort, crews are looking ahead to provide permanent fish passage in time for important early-spring migrations. In a progress update Sept. 29, Fisheries and Oceans Canada officials said roughly 151,000 salmon have now been detected with acoustic sonar north of the site, 8,270 of which relied on the Whooshh Passage Portal. >click to read< 11:56

Fraser River sockeye fishery could be shut down for years

Fraser River sockeye, once the bread-and-butter of the commercial sector, appear to be collapsing for real this time. In 2009, low returns were described as a collapse, but the next year, Fraser River sockeye staged a major comeback, with 28 million fish returning, followed by 19 million in 2014. The Pacific Salmon Commission (PSC) estimates that only 283,000 sockeye may return to the Fraser River this year – a fraction of the 941,000 in a pre-season forecast, and only one-quarter of what is needed to meet this year’s escapement target. >click to read< 10:18

Sockeye Collapse: First Nations call for halt to B.C. salmon fishery on the Fraser River

First Nations leaders in British Columbia are calling for an emergency order from the federal government to close the sockeye salmon fishery on the Fraser River and declare it exhausted. “Without a doubt, it’s collapsed,” said Robert Phillips, an executive with the First Nations Summit and First Nations Leadership Council of B.C., in an interview with Global News on Wednesday. In an Aug. 14 report, the Pacific Salmon Commission projected a record low return this year, with just 283,000 salmon expected to make it to spawning grounds. It’s a less than a third of a projection in July, when as many as 940,000, >click tp read< 19:11

Fraser River sockeye fishery to stay closed because of concerns about the stocks

The department said in a notice Tuesday that Fraser River sockeye forecasts are “highly uncertain” at this time. Fraser River sockeye returns from 2015 and 2016 were forecast at 941,000 in total. Last year, the returns of 485,900 were the lowest since record keeping began in 1893. The other major challenge for this year’s sockeye — along with chinook, coho, and steelhead — is that they have to get through the site of the November 2018 Big Bar landslide on the Fraser River upstream of Lillooet. Despite installing infrastructure to help salmon, that area will “continue to be an impediment,” >click to read< 14:56

More restrictions for Fraser River chinook fishermen

All but one of 13 Fraser River chinook populations assessed by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada are currently at risk. New restrictions this year include maximum size limits of 80 cm in southern marine recreation fisheries to help mitigate risks to larger females, and an expanded fishing closure off the mouth of the Fraser River. Additional closures have been added in the Strait of Georgia and Juan de Fuca Strait for protection of the Southern Resident Killer Whales. >click to read< 09:35

Government of Canada takes action to address threats to struggling Fraser River Chinook

Today, (June 19, 2020) Fisheries and Oceans Canada is releasing 2020 Fisheries management measures that will support the recovery of at-risk Fraser River Chinook populations, as well as protect the jobs and communities that depend on Chinook. The 2020 measures include additional restrictions to strengthen conservation as well as the flexibility needed where impacts to stocks of concern will be very low. These measures were developed following consultation with Indigenous communities, recreational and commercial fishing organizations, and environmental organizations. These measures are one component of a larger strategy intended to place at-risk Pacific salmon populations on a path towards sustainability. >click to read< 11:49

Big Bar Landslide: 99% of early Stuart sockeye, 89% of early Fraser River chinook salmon runs were lost

The officials with Fisheries and Oceans Canada told a Commons committee that 99 per cent of early Stuart and 89 per cent of early chinook salmon were lost. Rebecca Reid, the department’s regional director for the Pacific region, said salmon survival improved later in the summer when work started to transport fish past the slide, helping them reach their spawning grounds. It’s believed the massive landslide north of Lillooet, B.C., occurred in late October or early November 2018, but it wasn’t discovered until last June after fish had already begun arriving. Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan told the committee the volume of the slide was equivalent to a building 33 storeys high by 17 storeys wide. >click to read< 13:06

Big Bar Landslide: Concern over delays, contract cost as salmon populations face possible extinction

The federal NDP critic for fisheries is calling for more oversight of the cleanup project at B.C.’s Big Bar landslide following news of tripling contract costs and worker safety concerns. Construction giant Peter Kiewit Sons’ contract to clear the slide from the Fraser River was awarded in December at $17.6 million, but has since been amended more than a dozen times and is now worth more than $52.5 million. Earlier this month, three rocks fell unexpectedly from a slope above where crews have been working. It happened overnight and no one was hurt, but WorkSafeBC is now investigating. The Big Bar landslide dumped 75,000 cubic metres of rock into the Fraser in a remote area north of Lillooet some time in late 2018, but it wasn’t reported until June 2019. The landslide completely blocked migration routes for several salmon runs,,, >click to read< 12:14

Salmon cannon to help fish get around landslide on Fraser River

Plans are underway for a pneumatic fish pump, also known as a salmon cannon, to be used to help fish migrate past a landslide on British Columbia’s Fraser River, officials with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans said Monday. A fish ladder is under construction that will direct salmon to a holding pool where they’ll be pumped through a series of tubes suspended above the river, said Gwil Roberts, director of the department’s landslide response team.,, The slide was discovered in the remote canyon north of Lillooet last June. Huge pieces of rock from a 125-metre cliff had sheared off and crashed into the river, creating a five-metre waterfall. >click to read< 11:46

The Deadly Gauntlet Fraser Salmon Must Travel to Come Home

The rockslide at Big Bar just north of Lillooet was a natural disaster that blocked the Fraser last summer, making it impossible for many returning salmon to return to their natal spawning streams. Of the five million sockeye expected to return for example, only about 300,000 made it to their spawning grounds.  The only upside of the disaster is that it’s shining a new light on what we call the Gauntlet: the tortuous path that all six species of Pacific salmon must run every year as they return from their migrations on the high seas to fresh water streams across the 21 million-hectare Fraser River watershed. The rockslide was an act of nature that with engineering expertise and brute force can eventually be fixed. But as the Gauntlet illustrates, what will prove much harder is to save Fraser salmon from the trajectory of decline they were already on before the rockslide happened. >click to read< 21:26

Big Bar Landslide blasting resumes, In-river drilling and excavation underway.

The huge remediation project is jointly managed by Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the B.C. government and B.C. First Nations, who are guided by an Indigenous leadership panel. It involves equipment operators for excavators and rock trucks, drillers and blasters, rock scalers, emergency medical, river rescue and helicopter evaluation crews, environmental specialists and archeologists. “Blasting in waterways is not uncommon and the methods the contractor is using to drill and blast rock near and in-water are well understood,” the department said. more, >click to read< 12:02

Federal Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan visits B.C. slide site, says it’s her ‘top priority’

Federal Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan visited the site of a massive landslide in British Columbia’s Fraser River ,, She says the disaster at Big Bar, northwest of Kamloops, is her top priority and has been a key issue for the government since it was discovered in June because it threatens crucial salmon runs.,, “We recognize how important it is to get this work done,” she says in an interview Saturday, >click to read< 10:30

Critics say federal government is wiping out commercial pink salmon fisheries

In emails obtained by the BC Wildlife Federation, British Columbia government staff and scientists say Fisheries and Oceans Canada is burying science and misrepresenting a crisis situation to the public, risking extinction of Thompson-Chilcotin steelhead trout. In the fall of 2017, only an estimated 150 Thompson fish returned alongside just 77 to the Chilcotin down from thousands just a decade and a half ago. The email chain shows the DFO changed the wording of a public scientific document that is based on peer reviewed science. >click to read<  18:40

B.C. confirms sockeye salmon have passed through Fraser River slide naturally

The British Columbia government says that for the first time, sockeye salmon are confirmed to have swum past the massive landslide on the Fraser River north of Lilooet. As of Friday, the province says nearly 18,000 salmon had swum past the slide on their own via the natural channel that’s being restored. Nearly 52,000 salmon, including sockeye, chinook and small numbers of pink and coho, have also been transported,,, >click to read< 18:12

First Nations along Fraser River want sport fishing closed to save at risk species

So far this season, Guerin said Fisheries and Oceans Canada (known as DFO) limited Musqueam fishers to a few hundred chinook from the river, nowhere near enough to feed the nation’s 1,300 members let alone supply funerals and other community events like ceremonies and feasts. “I’ve got elders this year, this may be their last fish, and I can’t give it to them,” he said. “That hurts.”,,, Musqueam Chief Wayne Sparrow said they want to be part of the conservation efforts, but First Nations’ needs take priority over recreational fishing according to a 1990 Supreme Court ruling. That means the sport fishery should bear the brunt of any restrictions when there are concerns about the state of salmon populations. >click to read< 08:50

Limited fish passage through landslide obstruction on Fraser River

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans, the provincial government and local First Nations set up a team to lead the response to the slide near Big Bar, north of Lillooet, after it was discovered in late June. The team says in a news release Monday that fish counting data shows some chinook salmon have been able to swim past the slide using the channels the team has created with large rock manipulation and blasting. It says as of last Tuesday, a rough estimate of 6,700 salmon have passed through the slide on their own. >click to read<  11:19

‘They’re flat broke’: Salmon fishermen demand disaster relief for failed season

The Pacific Salmon Commission is forecasting a total return of only 447,000 sockeye salmon to the Fraser, one of the world’s richest salmon rivers, this year. “This is the lowest run size ever estimated since estimates began in 1893, and lower than the previous record for lowest run size of 858,000 observed in 2016,” its report read.,, “Many of them are in debt because they got the boat and gear ready for the season and they [invested] quite heavily in doing that. And then they put fuel in their boats and went to the fishing grounds and then caught nothing.” >click to read< 15:24

Salmon moved to B.C. hatchery as Fraser River landslide work continues

After airlifting thousands of fish above a landslide in B.C.’s Fraser Canyon, fisheries biologists have begun capturing members of threatened salmon runs to raise their offspring in a hatchery. In a pilot program that began on the long weekend, B.C. and federal experts captured and identified 177 Early Stuart sockeye, which begin and end their life cycle on the Stuart Lake system near Fort St. James in northwestern B.C. The captured fish have been taken to a Fisheries and Oceans Canada salmon research lab at Cultus Lake near Chilliwack for egg and sperm extraction and hatching. >click to read< 09:40

Trapped spawning salmon to be flown over Fraser River rock slide in B.C.

Tens of thousands of spawning salmon stuck behind a rock slide on the Fraser River in a remote part of British Columbia will be flown over the barrier by helicopter. The solution was made public Saturday by Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the B.C. government after weeks of speculation over how to help the trapped fish. >click to read<  08:08

Chief calls for state of emergency and fishery closure in light of Big Bar slide in Fraser River

A state of emergency and complete fishing closure should be called because of the Big Bar rock slide in the Fraser River, said Esket (Alkali Lake) Chief Fred Robbins Tuesday. “Along the coast they aren’t feeling the impact and on July 18 they can start fishing, but I believe there should be a complete closure for all fishing on the coast,” said Robbins,,,Robbins called a meeting in the community on July 12 and told members they would not be fishing until the rock slide is dealt with. Robbins is proposing different options to deal with the slide.,, “We need more boots on the ground and government to government to government discussion.” >click to read< 14:28

‘An extreme crisis for our sacred salmon’: B.C. rockslide threatens First Nations’ food security

Several First Nations leaders say a “state of emergency” could arise from the blocked salmon situation necessitating immediate action on the part of other governments. The remote site of a rockslide on the Fraser near Big Bar continues to fill with rocky debris, which is impeding any fish-rescue efforts despite the establishment of a multi-agency Incident Command Post out of Lilooet with experts working on it every day.,,, Several types of fish are being impacted, including some of conservation concern, officials said. The impacted stocks include: Interior Fraser Steelhead (Chilcotin), Spring/Summer Chinook, Interior Fraser Coho, Early Stuart Sockeye, Early Summer Sockeye, Summer Run Sockeye and Fraser Pinks.  >click to read<17:44

Fisheries official says 2018 saw a ‘reasonably good return’ despite low numbers

The number of sockeye salmon that made it up the Fraser River last fall was lower than originally predicted, prompting a conservation group to blame the federal fisheries regulator for allowing the area to be overfished. “This year, it was the lowest run or spawning return they’ve seen on record on this cycle,” Greg Taylor told CBC Radio’s Daybreak Kamloops host Shelley Joyce. “They were very disappointing,” said Taylor, a senior fisheries advisor for the Watershed Watch Salmon Society.,,, A DFO representative told Joyce on Thursday that, while the numbers were lower than predicted, the return numbers were not out of the ordinary >click to read<20:14

Protesters call for end to Chinook salmon fishing to save endangered orcas

Demonstrators concerned about the fate of the endangered southern resident killer whale population are calling for an end to all commercial fishing of Chinook salmon. There are just 74 of the southern residents remaining, and scientists say a lack of their primary food source, Chinook, is one of the key threats to their survival. On Wednesday, about a dozen protesters descended on Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Jonathan Wilkinson’s North Vancouver constituency office to call for change. Shirley Samples argued the government needs to ban all commercial and recreational Chinook fishing. “Why don’t we subsidize these fishermen? Why don’t we give them money so they can make it through this time when they have to forfeit fishing? There is a solution,”>click to read<10:20

Fraser River sockeye finally catch a break with cooling water temps

Sockeye salmon entering the Fraser River this week will be aided by cooling water temperatures, which should decrease mortality and help them reach their spawning grounds up river in better condition. Commercial fishers are optimistic that the sockeye run will live up to early season predictions as late-season fish start to enter the river. Sockeye migrating into the river this summer are the grandchildren of the record-breaking 2010 run that exceeded 28 million fish. “The fishing we’ve had up to this point has been pretty darn good,” said Chauvel. “You have to make your money in these peak years. The years in between are subsistence, so it’s these sockeye years that put you over the top.” >click to read<22:02

Fraser River salmon have a ‘gauntlet to get through’ as they return to spawn, biologists say

There seems to be a never-ending stream of obstacles facing the Fraser River salmon returning to spawn this year as well as the young preparing to make their own ocean-going journey. On top of warm water, habitat degradation and fishing pressure came the “near misses” of the last week. Last Friday, fire crews fought back a blaze on board a scrap metal barge in the Fraser in Surrey, B.C. Then on Tuesday, authorities sprang into action to contain a spill and remove a tug boat that had flipped and sank in the Fraser River near Deering Island in South Vancouver the night before. >click to read<13:51

During biggest salmon return in years, up to 22,000 litres of fuel might have spilled into the Fraser River

The smell of diesel filled the air as crews worked to recover a capsized tugboat that may have spilled as much as 22,000 litres of the fuel in the Fraser River between Vancouver and Richmond on Monday night. Canadian Coast Guard spokesperson Dan Bate said it’s unknown what caused the George H. Ledcor tug to capsize around 10 p.m. PDT Monday, just east of Vancouver International Airport. There were four people aboard the vessel and all were rescued by the crew on a nearby tug, Bate said. In a statement, the First Nation said the fuel spill is “of great concern” to the Musqueam people, who have been fishing the biggest salmon return in years on the Fraser River alongside other fishermen. >click to read<20:28

‘Gorgeous fish’: Steveston fishery workers haul in sockeye salmon bounty

Trung Nguyen, selling sockeye off his boat at the Steveston Pier for $8 a pound, has been waiting four years for this moment. Nguyen and other commercial fishery workers returned to the Richmond harbour Thursday with coolers full of salmon after being allowed out on the Fraser River Wednesday to catch salmon. The 2018 run is expected to be the biggest since 2014 and fishery workers had 24 hours to take advantage of the bounty. Strong runs come in four-year cycles and this year’s could eclipse 20 million fish. “Nice and firm. Gorgeous fish,” Nguyen said, showing a potential buyer an example of his haul. “We haven’t had an opening for four years, so this is a big year.” >click to read<09:46

They’re big, they’re fat and thankfully there are finally a whole lot of ‘em!

It’s early, but the Fraser River sockeye salmon run is looking strong for fishermen in U.S. waters. The season started earlier this week for commercial fishermen, with salmon coming in large numbers through the Strait of Juan de Fuca and heading toward Canadian waters. There are a lot of the fish, and they are fat, said Riley Starks, of Lummi Island Wild. The company does reefnet fishing near Lummi Island. On Monday the crew had its best one-day catch ever, he said. >click to read<09:00

Fraser River sockeye salmon fishing bonanza to start next week

The Fraser River will open next week for its first sockeye salmon run of the season, in a year that is expected to bring in millions of fish for the first time in four years. For local fishermen, it’s better than Christmas. “Oh, we’re super excited,” said Richmond fisherman Roy Jantunen, hours after learning the Pacific Salmon Commission had announced a 24-hour opening from 7 a.m. Wednesday. Jantunen is preparing to go flat out for that full day, without any sleep, to maximize his catch. “It’s great news,” he said. “Last week, we were pulling out the nets and getting them ready. We haven’t used these nets in four years.” >click to read<08:08