2022 Commercial Sockeye Season Summary in BCPublished on
The summer of 2022 is supposed to be a bumper season for both Pink and Sockeye Salmon in BC rivers, with one veteran Indigenous fisherman reporting the biggest catches of sockeye in decades. Meanwhile, Bob Chamberlin, chairman of the First Nations Wild Salmon Alliance, said thousands of pink salmon are in Central Coast rivers after years of minimal returns. Commercial fishers and wild Salmon advocates also celebrate large returns of the Salmon to BC waters.
Fisheries and Oceans Canada spokesperson Lara Sloan said departmental observations indicated big returns of sockeye to the Skeena River. For 2022, DFO is taking a more precautionary approach toward managing impacts of commercial fisheries on stocks of conservation concern including smaller wild Sockeye populations, Chum and Steelhead returning to the Skeena River. DFO’s median forecast of Fraser River Sockeye in 2022 is around 9.7 million compared to around 2.5 million Sockeye returned in 2021.
Optimism over an expected bumper season for wild British Columbia sockeye salmon has turned to distress, after a regulatory body's estimate of returns to the Fraser River dropped by nearly half this week. The Pacific Salmon Commission's pre-season estimate of 9.7 million returning fish went down to 5.5 million Monday, prompting environmentalists and fishers alike to express concern.
It came days after a less-conservative estimate sparked tension between U.S. and Canadian officials. The commission, which was created jointly by the United States and Canada to manage Pacific Salmon stocks, estimated last Thursday that the run would be 7.2 million before dropping that figure further.
While the U.S. accepted the commission's assessment last week and allowed its Sockeye fisheries to open over the weekend, Canada's Fisheries Department urged a more conservative count and Canadian fisheries remained closed. Island fishers are expressing frustration after being left at the dock, forced to stay home due to a Canadian government decision to close commercial fishing on the Fraser sockeye run while American fleets were given the green light to fish on the other side of the border. According to conservationists, the Canadian government made the right call, erring on the side of projected low returns of sockeye.