Rain opens spawning grounds

Salmon that had been waiting to go upstream get a rainy break

The heavy rain on the weekend came as good news for local salmon stocks which have been barred from their spawning grounds by low water levels.

Department of Fisheries and Oceans biologist Greg Thomas said the lack of rain in August and September led to unusually low flow levels in many Island waterways, but he said it’s too early to determine how much of a long-term impact the skimpy water levels will have.

“There are so many factors at play, it’s difficult to say whether a situation like this will actually reduce their productivity,” he said. “I think that there are some circumstances on the Island where some streams without lakes at the head of them had the streambeds dry up and there were losses of fry and smolts in those systems. That’s going to cause a problem.”

As well, he added, Chinook salmon in the Cowichan River could well be impacted.

“Their migration was certainly delayed, to the point where we took the step of moving fish up river to get them into the pools,” Thomas said. “There could be some mortality from that and there likely will be some impact.”

Thomas stressed however that while low water levels of this nature are unusual, there’s no need to panic.

“I think it falls within a natural variation,” Thomas said. “It’s not like we haven’t seen conditions like this before — although this is extreme.”

Currently, he said, both Chinook and Coho salmon are moving up Island rivers.

Meanwhile, he said both the troll and sein fleets are on the hunt for chum salmon, with a fishery open on the west coast.

“We generally fish chum from October to November,” Thomas said. “There are fisheries on the inside at ohnston Strait, mid-Vancouver Island and the Fraser River. The troll fishery has caught about 240,000 fish. There’s a second gillnet fishery ongoing now and there will be another towards the latter part of the month.”

Overall, he said, the chum salmon season looks good.

“It’s not a bad season,” he said. “The general indication is we have a reasonable abundance. We don’t currently have a season estimate of the run size but we are confident we are getting a decent return.”

 

Just Posted

Annual pickleball tournament fills up quickly

Two-day event to take place indoors at Oceanside Place May 24-25

Lighthouse Country bus tour to focus on area’s tourism destinations

Business assocation wants more tourists to come to the area

Flock of spinners holding fleece and fibre fair in Coombs

Annual event raises money for Bradley Centre, supports local producers and vendors

BC Ferries CEO, president speaks to Parksville and Qualicum Beach chambers

Guest asks about Vancouver Island resident discount fares

Local plant artist featured in national exhibit and in Qualicum Beach

Sherry Mitchell showing in Ottawa and at The Gallery at Qualicum Art Supply

VIDEO: After the floods, comes the cleanup as Grand Forks rebuilds

Business owners in downtown wonder how long it will take for things to go back to normal

Horgan defends fight to both retain and restrict Alberta oil imports

Alberta says pipeline bottlenecks are kneecapping the industry, costing millions of dollars a day

B.C. Transit shows off NextRide bus technology

New technology allows for real-time tracking, to be rolled out through early 2019

Police release video on how to ‘run, hide, fight’ if there’s an active shooter

Vancouver police offer video with input from E-Comm, BC EHS, Vancouver Fire and Rescue

RCMP caution boaters after two kids pass out from carbon monoxide poisoning

Both children were given oxygen and taken to hospital

B.C. invests $115M to create 200 new nurse practitioner jobs

Health Minister says 780,000 B.C. residents don’t have a family doctor

Supreme Court rules social housing residents in B.C. deserve rights too

Tenants trying to stabilize their living situations should not face less legal rights than those paying market rates: Judge

Union calls on prime minister to step into ‘stalled’ Phoenix compensation talks

For more than two years, thousands of federal workers have been affected by Phoenix system

Judge: President Trump can’t block critics on Twitter

The judge had suggested that Trump mute rather than block some of his critics

Most Read