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

The Co-op gas station at Whiskey Creek is burning after a camper van exploded while refueling just before 4 p.m. on Thursday, June 17, 2021. (FACEBOOK PHOTO)
Exploding camper van torches Highway 4 gas station between Qualicum Beach and Port Alberni

Highway traffic blocked after Whiskey Creek gas station erupts into flames

Morningstar Golf Club in Parksville will host the 2021 B.C. Junior Golf Championships. (PQB News file photo)
Morningstar Golf Club in Parksville to host 150 of B.C’s top junior golfers

Provincial boys and girls championship begins June 28

Hannes Grosse, left, and Iris Steigemann, right, as they prepared for their 'Moments of Silence' exhibit. The father-daughter duo are showing at The Old School House Arts Centre in Qualicum Beach until June 26. (Submitted photo)
Cortes Island artists exhibit at Qualicum Beach’s TOSH in first father-daughter show

Both artists will be present at shows on Friday, June 25 and Saturday, June 26

The Lighthouse Country Marine Rescue Society will get more funding from the Regional District of Nanaimo. (Submitted Photo)
More PQB communities to fund Lighthouse Country Marine Rescue Society

RDN to introduce amendment to service bylaw contribution

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

Helen Austin performing with Trent Freeman at the 2018 Vancouver Island MusicFest. Austin is one of the many performers listed for the 2021 event.
Vancouver Island MusicFest goes virtual for 2021

Black Press to stream 25 hours of programming July 9-11

Greater father involvement in the home leads to improved childhood development and increased marital satisfaction, says expert. (Black Press Media file photo)
Vancouver Island researcher finds lack of father involvement a drag on gender equality

Working women still taking on most child and household duties in Canada: UVic professor

FILE – A science class at L.A. Matheson Secondary in Surrey, B.C. on March 12, 2021. (Lauren Collins/Surrey Now Leader)
Teachers’ union wants more COVID transmission data as B.C. prepares for back-to-school

BCTF says that details will be important as province works on plan for September

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry outlines B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan, May 25, 2021, including larger gatherings and a possible easing of mandatory masks on July 1. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. records 120 new COVID-19 cases, second vaccines accelerating

Lower Pfizer deliveries for early July, Moderna shipments up

A Heffley Creek peacock caught not one - but two - lifts on a logging truck this month. (Photo submitted)
Heffley Creek-area peacock hops logging trucks in search of love

Peacock hitched two lifts in the past month

The Calgary skyline is seen on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
2 deaths from COVID-19 Delta variant in Alberta, 1 patient was fully immunized

Kerry Williamson with Alberta Health Services says the patients likely acquired the virus in the hospital

The first suspension bridge is the tallest in Canada, with a second suspension bridge just below it. The two are connected by a trail that’s just over 1 km. (Claire Palmer photo)
PHOTOS: The highest suspension bridges in Canada just opened in B.C.

The Skybridge in Golden allows visitors to take in views standing at 130 and 80 metres

BC Green Party leader and Cowichan Valley MLA Sonia Furstenau introduced a petition to the provincial legislature on Thursday calling for the end of old-growth logging in the province. (File photo)
BC Green leader Furstenau introduces old-growth logging petition

Party calls for the end of old-growth logging as protests in Fairy Creek continue

Most Read