The DFO estimates that this year’s run of Harrison River sockeye will number 1.1 million. The estimate is based on fish counted as they travelled past Mission in late August. The sockeye are expected to start spawning in Harrison River next week.
As many as 3000,000 (27% of the total run) fish could die en route to their spawning grounds.
Despite the large-scale die-off, the federal fisheries department says such events are not unheard of and it remains pleased with the returns and the numbers expected to successfully spawn.
Temperatures, water flows, fat reserves as the salmon leave the ocean, stress, and disease are among factors that could “conspire to kill them on route,” he said.
Alexandra Morton, a vocal critic of salmon farms, believes that farms have contributed to en-route mortality for the past 16 years. Although Morton conceded that the Harrison sockeye are “doing phenomenally well,” she urged the federal government to allocate more resources to research of en-route mortality: “We need a huge push to determine why these fish are dying.” [Read full article]