Submitted by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans-Fisheries and Oceans Canada has released its outlook for the 2004 salmon fishing season in BC and the Yukon. Improving ocean survival condition and healthy stocks in many areas, are expected to provide a range of fishing opportunities for First Nations and the recreational and commercial fishing sectors this year.
In the northcoast, average to strong returns are forecast for the major sockeye stocks, including the Transboundary rivers (namely Taku, Stikine and Alsek), Nass and Skeena Rivers. Overall, returns of chinook are forecast to range between average and strong coastwide.
In northern B.C. (Queen Charlotte Islands, Skeena and Nass rivers) and in the Yukon, there are areas of concern for some chum stocks. In the North Coast, average to strong returns of pinks are forecast.
Measures to protect a number of salmon stocks of concern will again be incorporated into this year’s fishing plans.
The salmon management plans for 2004 are currently at the preliminary stage of development. In the coming months, DFO will complete the analysis of information obtained in 2003 and will develop draft salmon Integrated Fishery Management Plans (IFMPs) based on these analyses, conservation requirements and approaches set out in policy. Finalized IFMPs will reflect input received from consultations with First Nations and other stakeholders, including recreational and commercial harvesters and environmental organizations.
North Coast analysis
Chum returns to the QCIs are expected to be mixed (some will be average or above average and others will be below average) and low returns are expected elsewhere throughout the north. Similar conservation requirements to those implemented in 2003 will be required in 2004.
Chinook returns throughout the North Coast are anticipated to be good, as in the last two years. This will provide for First Nations fishing opportunities and the maintenance of good opportunities for both recreational anglers and the commercial troll fleet.