How many chinook salmon are reaching the Upper Fraser tributaries?

Discussion in 'Conservation, Fishery Politics and Management.' started by wildmanyeah, Sep 27, 2019.

  1. wildmanyeah

    wildmanyeah Crew Member

    From FWR

    I had a long conversation on the phone yesterday with Steve Hamilton, the president of Spruce City Wildlife Association in Prince George, because I wanted to be educated on the situation of the Upper Fraser River chinook salmon by someone who is directly involved with them.

    While we here on the coast continue to talk about, and sometimes bicker over, harvest allocations, selective fisheries, angling opportunities, all of us need to sit back and look at what is going on 1,000km inland from the "battle ground".

    For over a decade now, we have been talking about the decline of Upper Fraser River chinook and sockeye salmon, but just exactly how bad is it?

    With an abundant return of summer chinook salmon in the Lower Fraser River, it is so easy to forget what we are quickly losing in this province.

    So here is what's going on. Steve and his team of volunteers at Spruce City Wildlife Association, which was founded in 1970, with the support from Carrier Sekani Tribal Council, have been operating a small community salmon hatchery in the past several years to enhance chinook salmon returning to the tributaries of the Upper Fraser River. The word "small" might be bit of an exaggeration. Its operation is limited by the lack of fundings and the few fish they are able to find.

    To date, they have collected 6 female and 10 male spawners this season. The team has spent over 500 hours looking for fish in tributaries such as the Nechako River. These Upper Fraser River tributaries are not little creeks, but their length and width are comparable to Lower Fraser River tributaries like the Chilliwack/Vedder River system. Each tributary's spawning habitat can easily accommodate tens of thousands of chinook salmon, but currently only a few dozens return to each. Some populations are now determined to be functional extinct, meaning that the populations have lost so much genetic diversity and cannot recruit themselves. This is a tragedy which majority of British Columbians are unaware of, and we are going to change that here.

    Steve talked about how the hatchery is currently funded by private donors. Beside raising 25,000 eggs until the fish are ready to be released, the hatchery also runs an educational program which has put over 12,000 students through in the past three years so they can stay connected to these iconic species. Money is needed to cover overhead expenses, from keeping water flowing for the eggs, to having lights on at the facility. If you have enjoyed salmon fishing in this province, please consider a donation to the association because the recovery of these Upper Fraser River salmon populations is everyone's responsibility, regardless which sector you are in. Please go to the following link for making a donation:

    On a side note, Fisheries and Oceans Canada has not provided funds to support this program, despite of being the only salmon hatchery north of Kamloops and the urgency of recovering Upper Fraser River chinook salmon. It is beyond baffling why this department has chosen to ignore these options as part of the recovery beside fishing closures. Once again, we still have a lot of work to do
  2. BCRingo

    BCRingo Well-Known Member

    Thanks for sharing this post. Donated.
    wildmanyeah likes this.
  3. fish4all

    fish4all Well-Known Member

    Yes the wild salmon policy has done nothing for our wild salmon.
  4. wildmanyeah

    wildmanyeah Crew Member

    from their FB page:

    One of their recent FB posts:

    Hey Prince George !

    We have successfully taken our allowance for brood stock-giving us a total of just over 25 000 eggs for your endangered and threatened stocks in the upper Fraser watershed.

    Although this number seems like a lot- it represents the eggs from 6 females from the Endako, and Nechako River.

    The hardest part is yet to come- this is going to cost money, something us as a volunteer run non-profit does not have a lot of. We do not receive any funding from the provincial or federal governments for this.

    We have once again put in well over 500 hours of volunteer time, and funds to ensure these runs once again have their best chance at survival.

    So we are turning to you, the community and surrounding areas of Prince George, and throughout the Province.

    You have been so incredibly supportive of our posts, with the likes, loves, comments and shares- we appreciate every single one of them.

    We are calling on you to donate what you can- every single dollar helps us keep the lights on and that water flowing over the eggs of our salmon.

    Your salmon.

    We have put over 12000 children through our facility over the last three years, all completely free. Your donations will allow us to do that once again this year, all the while protecting our endangered and threatened salmon populations.

    You can donate at with your credit card, or by messaging our page.
    Cash, cheque or e-transfer works as well.

    If you cannot donate, please consider sharing this post so we can have maximum impact for our runs.

    Anything you can spare helps our salmon.

    Thanks Prince George, and stay tuned for more fish updates as they grow !
    cohochinook likes this.
  5. tincan

    tincan Well-Known Member

    Had the Wild Salmon Policy actually been implemented 15 years ago when it was initially produced we would be a much better place as far as salmon are concerned. The real problem with the WSP is that successive governments have punted it down the road to the point where only in the past few years certain aspects of it are being taken seriously. The government has yet to implement the majority of the WSP so to say that it "has done nothing for our wild salmon" is to show you have not been following the situation at all.
    cohochinook likes this.
  6. BCRingo

    BCRingo Well-Known Member

    Whatever was or wasn’t done in the past, is water under the bridge. Blaming DFO and political parties won’t fix this immediate issue.

    These runs are on the brink of distinction. The only way we can help is through donations and also putting pressure on our MLAs and MPs. Same thing should be done for the IFS. We should take advantage of the next few weeks and create public awareness before the election.

    Can you guys think of any other way where we can help?
  7. tincan

    tincan Well-Known Member

  8. agentaqua

    agentaqua Well-Known Member

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