|An abysmal sockeye return has forced the closure of all salmon fishing on the Lower Fraser River, prompting an outcry from recreational users. The Department of Fisheries and Ocean’s director of salmon for the Pacific region said circumstances on the Lower Fraser are dire and too severe to allow sport fishing, no matter what kind of salmon is being targeted.|
The department issued notice on Thursday that the fishery would close until further notice. On Tuesday, the Fraser River Panel downgraded its estimate for the summer sockeye run from 992,000 fish to 700,000 - the lowest ever seen.
|In 2009, the government launched an inquiry when only 1.4 million sockeye returned on a predicted run of 10 million.|
The commercial and sports fishery for Fraser River stock in the ocean has already been closed.
|Rod Clapton|| But even with numbers in virtual free fall anglers disagree with the department’s decision. “I have concerns that they would target the sports fishery,” said Rod Clapton, spokesman for the Fraser River Sportfishing Alliance. Clapton says there is no need to ban all salmon fishing in order to protect sockeye.|
The fishery has been limited for the aboriginal ceremonial and food fishery. Anglers are still permitted to fish for trout, steelhead and sturgeon.