Victoria/Chilliwack (Star FM) – The Department of Fisheries and Oceans is taking a cautious approach when it comes to opening fishing times this year, due to concerns about the impact of the water temperatures and levels on fish survival.
Regional salmon resource manager Jeff Grout says they need to make sure enough sockeye reach the spawning grounds.
“We could look at additional closed areas if we have holding salmon that are waiting to migrate upstream that we’re looking to protect. We also consider adjustments to harvest amounts, for Fraser Sockeye in particular we use management adjustments.”
Grout says the bulk of any fishing opportunities will be with the summer group in August.
According to the DFO, the warm waters have been a problem the past couple of years and could have an impact beyond just this year’s salmon run.
Ocean scientist Ian Perry says the warm ocean waters aren’t ideal for young salmon.
“The juvenile salmon coming out of the rivers this spring, 2015, they’ve come in to an environment that is very different than what they’ve evolved to. They’ve come in to an environment with poor fish food, with a lot more predators. We anticipate that this is going to affect certainly their growth and their survival, and we are expecting there to be fewer numbers coming back in the next one to three years.”
Acting Lower Fraser Area Enforcement Chief Ken Green says that means officers will be cracking down on compliance with fishing closures, with more officers on the waters day and night looking for poachers.