The chinook fishery held each August on the Clearwater and North Thompson rivers has been closed for this year.
“Over the past few years we’ve seen a limited opening on the Clearwater as a result of low run size,” said Dean Allan, acting area chief of resource management for the B.C. Interior with Fisheries and Oceans Canada.
“This year the run is at such a low level that we need to close all discretional fisheries.”
The department runs a test fishery at Albion on the Fraser River near Fort Langley, he explained.
The chinook that hatch in the Clearwater are typically five years old when they return to spawn.
This year the predicted return of five-year-old spring and summer chinook in the Fraser River ranges from 26,000 to 57,000, with a mid point of 36,600.
This is considerably less than the 45,000 chinook needed to trigger a stricter management regime.
The department has a broader management plan for the stocks in the B.C. southern Interior, Allan said.
Other stocks besides the Clearwater are in decline as well, he noted. The plan includes identifying what is causing the declines, and then addressing those causes.
According to Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the Albion Chinook test fishery has operated since 1981. The test fishery uses a drifted gill net at of a specific mesh and length, and at a specific site. It begins in early April of each year, and lasts until mid-October.