It seems sockeye salmon have found a new home elsewhere, as it seems many aren’t returning to the Skeena River.
The pre-season estimate was about 3,000,000 sockeye would return to the river to respawn this year. However, because of an underwhelming amount actually returning, the current estimate is barely 850,000.
Skeena fishery commission biologist Mark Cleveland says he’s not sure why the return is so low, but there are a few theories.
“It’s probably linked to a number of factors,” he says, “potentially climate change or just the food source wasn’t there where it usually is when they’re out there feeding in the ocean.”
The current number isn’t low enough to close any fisheries, but if the downgrade continues, conservation measures may be taken.
There is no commercial fishing allowed in the river.
Currently, Recreational fishers can keep 1 salmon per person, per day and there are no restrictions on First Nations fishing.