The Pacific Salmon Commission, which helps regulate the West Coast salmon fishery, announced yesterday, Aug. 24, that recent tests have increased stock forecasts. It’s now estimated that more than 25-million sockeye will make the annual swim up British Columbia’s Frasier River this summer, the best run since 1913.
This comes as an inquiry into last year’s low return, of 1.5 million, is just about to get underway. “We don’st understand the mechanisms at all,” Carl Walters, a professor at the University of British Columbia’s Fisheries Centre, told CBC News. “We think there’s some complicated kind of delayed ecological interaction effects that a big run can cause poor survival down the road and maybe low runs can cause good survival down the road.”
According to Carla Shore, a spokesman for the Cohen Commission, which is investigating last year’s low return, there’s still cause for concern considering salmon stocks have been declining since the ‘90s. “We’re thrilled the numbers are so great, but the reality is 2009 was a problematic year,” she told The Globe and Mail. “We’ll take into account the great numbers this year, but there are still a lot of questions around the long-term sustainability of Fraser River sockeye.”