Food, social and ceremonial (FSC) harvest of sockeye is once again open in the Skeena watershed following the recent sockeye return improvement.
“Over the last seven days there’s been an increase in the return at the Tyee test fishery, which affects the total return,” said Colin Masson, north coast area director for Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO).
Masson explained that the FSC harvest was only going to be considered if the total return reached over 600,000.
The total return estimate is now 640,000, considerably higher than last month’s estimate of 419,000 and the pre-season estimate of 590,000 sockeye.
As of last week, over 70 per cent of the sockeye run had passed the Tyee test fishery, according to the DFO.
Given that the fishing season is near its end, Masson said it will be difficult for Skeena First Nations to catch their initial allotments.
“At least it will give them access for critical community use,” he said.
Lake Babine Nation (LBN) Chief Wilf Adam urged LBN members last week to “only take what they need.”
Recreational fishing for sockeye and chum salmon remains closed in the entire Skeena watershed. Masson said the DFO will not consider reopening recreational sockeye fishing unless the total return estimate reaches over 800,000.
“But that’s extremely unlikely given the late time and the run at this stage,” he said. “We don’t anticipate any change in the recreational limitations at this point.”