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July 30, 1997
Contact: Jeff Weathersby, (360) 902-2256

Large early summer Fraser sockeye run creates fishing opportunity

OLYMPIA -- An unexpectedly large run of early summer Fraser River sockeye has enabled the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife to schedule commercial fisheries for salmon tomorrow, Thursday and Friday.

Preseason forecasts indicated the early summer component of the Fraser River sockeye run would consist of approximately 351,000 salmon.

But the technical staff of the Pacific Salmon Commission just released an advisory indicating the run is now estimated to be at least 500,000 sockeye. The commission staff also reported the Canadian goal of returning 200,000 of the early summer sockeye to the Fraser River to spawn has just about been achieved.

In addition, the commission staff said more than 50 percent of the Fraser River sockeye currently in American waters are part of the summer component of the Fraser run. The summer component is expected to consist of 15.7 million of sockeye. More than 12 million of those fish can be harvested.

In response, WDFW today advised Canadian managers the following non-Indian commercial seasons had been opened:

  • Reef nets: 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. tomorrow and Thursday
  • Gillnets: 7:10 a.m. to midnight Thursday
  • Purse seines: 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday.
WDFW expects the fisheries to harvest less than the U.S. target catch of 60,000 early summer sockeye.