Some 34 million sockeye are expected to return to the Fraser River. (Photo: YouTube/ANewsVanIsland/ FIS)
Sockeye run estimates upped to 34 million
Wednesday, September 01, 2010, 21:50 (GMT + 9)
The sockeye salmon return estimate for British Columbia's Fraser River has been increased again, with the run now expected to reach 34 million fish.
This latest estimate comes from the Pacific Salmon Commission, the federal body responsible for the fish count. The commission had previously increased the estimate from 25 million to 30 million on Friday, reports CBC.
It's the largest return to the Fraser in 100 years, and marks a dramatic turnaround figures that saw the fishery completely closed last year.
The Cohen Commission judicial enquiry starts hearings in September to determine why the 2009 run had so few salmon returning. It had been forecast at 11 million sockeye, but only around 1.5 million returned.
Just how many fish should be caught remains a hotly debated issue.
The Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) says it wants to balance ecology and sustain smaller stocks while allowing fisheries.
In an ironic turn of events, University of British Columbia fisheries scientist Carl Walters has said that the impact of millions of fish clogging rivers and lakes could be damaging if more salmon aren't caught.
Walters, who's been studying West Coast salmon for decades, has stated that his research demonstrates the government has historically wasted millions of dollars in catch by being too conservative with quotas.
- DFO faces criticism after record salmon run
- Fraser sockeye returns reach 100-year record
By Michael Loubet