WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE
NEWS RELEASE
600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501-1091

July 03, 1997
Contact: Jeff Weathersby, (360) 902-2256

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U.S. fishing to begin Saturday for Fraser River sockeye

OLYMPIA -- Treaty Indian tribes and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife will open four days of fishing for Fraser River sockeye beginning Saturday.

The decision was made by tribal, state and federal fish managers today following a technical presentation by Pacific Salmon Commission staff indicating that the Early Stuart component of the Fraser River sockeye run is building as anticipated.

Fish managers expect approximately 1.1 million Early Stuart sockeye will return through the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Canada's Johnstone Strait in the next few days. Canadian fish managers have announced they want 500,000 of those 1.1 million fish to return to spawn in the Fraser River. American fish managers expect the U.S. commercial fleet to harvest no more than 85,000 Early Stuart sockeye in four days of fishing. Canadians will have the opportunity to harvest approximately 500,000 sockeye.

The American fishing schedule is:

  • Non-tribal reef netters: 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday
  • Tribal fishers: 4 a.m. Monday to 7 a.m. Tuesday
  • Non-tribal gillnetters: 7 a.m. Tuesday to midnight Tuesday
  • Non-tribal purse seiners: 5 a.m. Wednesday to 9 p.m. Wednesday
The American fishing will occur in the San Juan and Point Roberts areas.

The fish managers emphasized that they want to complete the U.S. harvest of Early Stuarts before the arrival of the early summer component of the Fraser River sockeye run. The early summer sockeye run is expected to be in poor condition. The United States wants to minimize the harvest of early summer sockeye.

Fishing decisions about the rest of the Fraser River sockeye runs summer and late summer will be made later in the summer following test fishing when the fish begin appearing in the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Johnstone Strait. The summer run is expected to provide the bulk of this year's sockeye harvest.

Sockeye fishing normally continues through August as the fish return from the Pacific Ocean.