Fraser River sockeye estimates rise again
- Fraser River sockeye estimates rise again
Captain Sugar Yamada offloads his catch of sockeye salmon at Steveston Harbour following a 32-hour fishery window in Richmond, B.C., on Thursday August 26, 2010. Darryl Dyck/ The Globe and Mail
Latest numbers put run at 34-million
Vancouver - Globe and Mail Update Published on Tuesday, Aug. 31, 2010 5:01PM EDT Last updated on Tuesday, Aug. 31, 2010 5:05PM EDT
The Fraser River sockeye salmon return continues to grow, now with an estimated 34-million fish making the run this summer, according to the most recent numbers released by the Pacific Salmon Commission.
It is the largest return since 1913 and the third time in one week that the numbers have been upped. The increase is attributed to an extra four million fish in the Late Shuswap/Weaver sockeye run.
A UBC professor who has studied Fraser River sockeye for more than 40 years says it's a waste not to pluck more salmon from this once-in-a-lifetime run than federal policy is currently allowing.
The unprecedented numbers of fish swimming up the Fraser has made it difficult and controversial to pinpointing the right number of fish to harvest for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.
Professor Carl Walters says lakes can only handle so many fish and being too conservative with fishing quotas won't pour greater nutrients into the system to help new generations flourish.
Instead, he says those nutrients will be flushed towards predators and that could actually hurt runs in the future.
Mr. Walters says animals like bears and eagles reliant on a fish diet only need tens of thousands of the millions available to fill them up, so there's no concern fishermen will deplete that supply.
A spokesman for the federal Fisheries Department says it currently makes catch quota decisions based on finding a balance with the ecosystem - but after years of unstable runs, they're taking a second look at that approach.
With a report from The Canadian Press
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