Hundreds of  fishing boats are expected to crowd the mouth of the Fraser River today for the season's first opening of the waterway to commercial sockeye salmon fishing.

Today's three-hour opening for gillnetters, from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. PT, follows a recreational fishery Friday and First Nations' food and ceremonial fisheries held on the lower Fraser this weekend.

Fishermen and cannery operators have been highly anticipating this year's salmon run, which comes four years after a historic return of 30 million sockeye in 2010. Many hoped the four year maturity cycle would bring a repeat in numbers.

B.C.'s $2.2 billion dollar fishing and aquaculture industry employs about 14,000 people.

A decision on additional commercial openings will be made Tuesday after analysis of the three hour fishery.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada has estimated this year's sockeye run could see as many as 23 million salmon return to the Fraser River.