The salmon fishing season in the Northwest has been postponed due to low returns in the Skeena River.

North Coast Director with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Colin Masson says it’s the lowest return on record.

He says that means no fishing on the river other than for Trout and Steelhead. Lake fishing also remains open.

“And the intention here is to allow the Skeena First Nations to have an opportunity to harvest Chinook for food social and ceremonial purposes. There’s a closure so they’re not going to be harvesting Sockeye unless the returns actually increase above 600,000.”

He says pre-season estimates were below 600,000 sockeye prompting the closure.

The recreational fishing closure announced today includes the Bulkley River through Hazelton, Smithers, Houston, the Babine and adjacent tributaries.

The season is expected to open on July 14th.