Over the past few years, salmon lovers in the province have become accustomed to bad news. Many will recall that serious concerns were raised only four years ago in 2009 as to the long-term health of wild sockeye stocks. Given that sockeye run on four-year cycles, it was to be expected that this year would be a low one as well. Nevertheless, the figures have taken nearly all the experts by surprise: 1.7 million fewer than expected along the Fraser, and 400,000 fewer along the Skeena to take two of the more dramatic cases. While this has been compensated in some measure by larger than expected coho and pink runs, the hammer finally fell this Thursday with the decision to ban salmon fishing altogether along a large section of the Fraser running roughly from Mission to just north of Hope.
Several possible causes have been cited for the decline: risks associated with farmed fish, competition from American fishermen, and record water temperatures may all have contributed. Whatever the reasons, sockeye is sure to be in short supply as the summer starts to wind down. We blogged only a week ago that sockeye fillets had reached $20 per pound in the city of Vancouver—expect prices to continue rising.
If you are interested in learning more about sockeye or sockeye fishing, whether in the present day or in historical context, feel free as always to drop by and speak to one of our Heritage Interpreters! Also check out our fine selection of books on the subject in the Cannery Store!
Click here to read the CBC article.