Fisheries and Oceans Canada has closed the north coast chinook troll fishery for the next month because too many threatened west coast of Vancouver Island chinook were showing up in the catch.
The commercial chinook fishery, which had been open since September, closed Monday night at midnight, said David Einarson, Fisheries’ area chief of resource management. The fishery will open again June 15.
There were 51 troll vessels catching chinook around the islands last week. “That is actually less than we expected, due to the poor prices they’re getting right now,” Mr. Einarson said.
The trollers had caught an estimated 20,000 to 25,000 chinook by the time the fishery closed, he said. The total north coast troll quota for this year is 152,000 chinook, but Mr. Einarson said he doesn’t expect that many will be caught.
That’s because the fishery is also managed according to how many vulnerable west coast of Vancouver Island chinook are being caught, as estimated by DNA analysis. Fisheries and Oceans has set a limit of 6,775 Vancouver Island chinook to be caught this year, with 40 percent of that catch in the spring, 50 percent after June 15, and 10 percent in September.
The fishery was closed Monday because the 40 percent target had been reached, Mr. Einarson said.
Meanwhile, the recreational fishing season is just getting underway this month. The recreational sector has a quota of 40,000 to 45,000 chinook this year, most of which are caught between May and September, he said. Last year, recreational anglers caught an estimated 41,300 chinook on the north coast.
The prawn fishery opened May 5 and the geoduck fishery is also open around the Charlottes, Mr. Einarson said. However, very little geoduck fishing is going on because prices are so low this year, he said.
The Dixon Entrance/Hecate Strait commercial crab fishery is now closed because the crabs are in their soft shell phase. Mr. Einarson said he expects the crab fishery will open again in late June or early July. Recreational crab fishing is still open, he added.
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