The entire Skeena watershed is off limits to all recreational harvesting of sockeye salmon for the 2017 season.
The Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) initiated the closure June 15 due to predicted low returns of Skeena River sockeye salmon. The closure includes the Bulkey River.
Recreational, commercial, and First Nations food, social and ceremonial harvesting of sockeye salmon will be closed for the 2017 season unless there is an in-season indication of increased Skeena sockeye abundance.
This closure is being implemented to facilitate First Nations harvesting of Skeena salmon, according to the DFO. During the closure, First Nations are permitted to harvest only chinook, pink and chum salmon.
Recreational harvesting opportunities for Skeena coho, pink and chinook salmon will re-open on July 15. The DFO reminds fishers to refer to the on-line BC Sport Fishing Guide and future fishery notices for details on confirmed opening dates, times and other restrictions.
Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen said in a media release that the closure is a, “slam to the Northwest economy that would likely have been avoided if federal fisheries officials had been more aggressive in stock management the last decade.”
“Rampant cuts to hatcheries, stock protection and enhancement, as well as outrageous overfishing by international harvesters, are what really need to be attacked to protect our precious wild salmon resource, instead of targeting Northwest residents and visitors,” said Cullen.
The release went on to read that Cullen believes there is a, “need for additional management activities such as more DFO officers to police ocean and river fishing as important in ensuring long term stock health.”
Cullen’s statement went on to read, “with the once-bountiful Skeena off-limits for several weeks, [I expect] tempers will rise on local rivers as concentrated numbers of fishers jostle for room to drop their lines. Ocean fishing, which allows higher quotas than rivers, will likely also see a spike during the Skeena closure.”