Thompson and Shuswap sockeye returns low - InfoNews

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Thompson and Shuswap sockeye returns low

FILE PHOTO: Salmon work their way upstream in the Adams River.
November 02, 2016 - 4:30 PM

KAMLOOPS - It’ll be a slow year for the region’s sockeye this year, but should be better than the worst year four years ago.

Dean Allan with the Fisheries and Oceans Canada says about 500 fish were counted heading to the Shuswap Lake basin area. While 2016 is an off cycle year for sockeye, estimates before this year’s spawn still expected 4,000 fish to attempt the journey.

“The fish that spawned four years ago was the lowest return on record,” he says. “This return might be similar to the brood year return.”

The roughly 500 fish were counted in the Fraser River, which is where salmon in the Thompson River and Shuswap Lake area come from. It’s not known how many have or will complete the journey, though Allan expects it to be more than 12. Allan adds that the number 500 is a little uncertain because it’s so low.

Four years ago was the worst year ever for the region’s sockeye stock, with just 12 fish making it to the areas spawning grounds. As salmon run on a four year cycle, expectations were for few fish to return to the area, but 500 is significantly lower than initial hopes.

“It was a very poor return this year,” Allan says. “That’s fish retiring from the 12 and fish that return at different ages.”

In addition to the offspring of the 12 that spawned four years ago, the increased number of spawning sockeye come from some fish returning a year earlier or later than typical.

Because of the low number of sockeye returning, no returning sockeye were to be fished this year, though people fishing for chinook may catch a sockeye by accident.

He says for other species it’s too early for any numbers. Coho and chinook are in the Interior, but they’re run is ongoing, while pink don’t spawn on off cycle years.

“With respect to coho they’re currently returning right now,” he says. “with respect to chinook they’re just finishing there spawning in the Thompson and Shuswap right now.”


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