B.C. sockeye salmon fishery likely closed again
British Columbia's lucrative commercial and recreational sockeye salmon fishery is not likely to open this year, as Fisheries and Oceans Canada says there are simply not enough fish coming back.
Although there has been enough returning fish to fill the spawning grounds and open an aboriginal fishery, numbers have actually started to decrease.
In order for a commercial fishery to operate, the number of summer run sockeye salmon would have had to be roughly double last week's count.
"Returns to some of the populations this year have been fairly good," said Barry Rosenberger, co-chair of the Pacific Salmon Commission's Fraser River Panel.
"But overall, we haven't achieved a total abundance that would allow us to commercially fish."
Mike Forrest, president of the Fraser River Gillnetters Association, says he has seen his livelihood slowly disappear over the past 50 years.
"My brother and I have fishing boats, nets and all kinds of equipment ready to go fishing. We are third-generation doing this and the access to the resource has been taken away from us," said Forrest, .
He says the native food fishery has priority and in years of low abundance it is often the only one that's allowed.
Fisheries and Oceans Canada says although the figures are down, overall returns are increasing slowly from a record low in 2009 and it's hopeful there will be enough for a commercial fishery next year.
With files from the CBC’s Mike Clarke