A low sockeye salmon return, noted by residents living near the Adams River, is an ordinary part of the four-year spawning cycle and no immediate cause for concern according to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.
“I walk along the Adams River three or four times per week. I haven’t seen any sockeye. None. Not even dead ones,” said Madeline Whittington, who has lived in the area for 43 years.
Whittington says some of her neighbours have made similar observations of the low numbers of returning sockeye.
“There’s never been nothing before,” she said.
Dean Allan, the acting area chief of resource management for the Fraser and Interior area says the low number of returning salmon is the product of the lowest late-run sockeye return on record in 2012.
Allan said 2012 had a spawning escapement, those fish that returned from the ocean to spawn, of only 12 fish in the Adams River.
“For this year it’s what we would have expected based on how many fish spawned there and the forecast in general and what we saw in the other Sockeye returns,” Allan said.
Sockeye salmon spawn in the Adams River and surrounding tributaries in a four-year cycle with a dominant year when the most fish return, followed by a sub-dominant year and then two off-cycle years when the fewest fish return.
“At the mid range of the forecast was about 4,000 late-run sockeye,” Allan said.
There are no preliminary spawning numbers available but Allan said according to Department of Fisheries and Oceans crews on the ground, the spawning fish in the Adams River this year are expected to exceed the spawning escapement of their brood year.