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Big return of B.C. salmon

Lisa Varano, staff writer

September 5, 2010 — Fishermen in British Columbia have enjoyed the largest run of sockeye salmon on the Fraser river in nearly a century. And now, there is one last chance to go fishing.

A great catch of sockeye salmon in B.C. this year
A great catch of sockeye salmon in B.C. this year

Fishermen in B.C. have already caught 12 million fish during this year's massive sockeye salmon run on the Fraser River, but only one day is left to catch a few more.

The last window of opportunity is from Monday morning to Tuesday morning. After that, the fishery will be closed.

Millions of sockeye salmon will continue to swim up the river -- but fishermen won't be allowed in the water anymore. Fishing will no longer be permitted because endangered coho salmon are about to begin migrating up the river.

Fishermen, scientists, and forecasters are all trying to figure out what's caused a huge jump in the number of sockeye salmon swimming in B.C.'s Fraser river this summer.

Up to 34 million fish are part of the Fraser's sockeye salmon run this year -- a number that hasn't been seen in almost 100 years.

The weather may have played a role in bringing the fish back to the river.

The Fraser hasn't seen this many fish in a long time
The Fraser hasn't seen this many fish in a long time

“Water temperatures this summer have generally been quite good for Fraser sockeye. We have had problems in past years when water temperatures have exceeded 20°C, for example,” says Jeff Grout of the Department of Fisheries.

The wrong water temperature can impede the migration of fish, kill them, or make them vulnerable to disease, he says.

Fishermen looked forward to a big catch, especially since recent years have not been lucky.

“Fishing is like a game of chance. You never know where they are, and you only catch the fish when your net is in the right place at the right time,” says Bud Sakamoto, a commercial fisherman.

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