Only 45 steelhead are forecasted to spawn in the Chilcotin watershed and 145 for the Thompson watershed

Steelhead face extinction in Chilcotin watershed

Only 45 steelhead are forecasted to spawn in the Chilcotin watershed and 145 for the Thompson

Only 45 steelhead are forecasted to spawn in the Chilcotin watershed and 145 for the Thompson watershed, a Fish and Wildlife Branch letter for distribution warns.

“These forecasts represent record low spawning abundances for Thompson and Chilcotin steelhead over monitoring time frames of 41 and 47 years, respectively,” a fish biologist with the branch, Robert Bison, noted in a status update on Nov. 6.

Forecast numbers are based on catches to date of steelhead in test fisheries, he explained.

“The chance that the status will be classified as an Extreme Conservation Concern is currently estimated at 96 per cent.”

Steelhead Society of B.C. director Cody Sojka said he is predicting “virtual extinction” for steelhead.

“It comes down to it being in such a critical state I don’t think anyone thought it would decline this quickly,” he told the Tribune Thursday.

Scientific data shows about 20 per cent of the steelhead stock is lost each year through commercial and First Nations fisheries for chum salmon, Sojka said.

“That is completely unacceptable for a run that’s considered an extreme conservation concern.”

Sojka described steelhead as a B.C. icon, noting people used to come from all over the world to fish for steelhead.

“We do have other factors contributing to the demise of these fish, but nothing as significantly as our own government’s mismanagement. It’s pretty sad.”

Interior steelhead have seen a persistent decline in marine survival during the past three decades, a Ministry of Forests spokesperson said in an e-mailed response, noting studies indicate that steelhead by-catch during salmon fisheries, marine mammal predation, and competition with salmon in offshore environments, are the primary factors influencing steelhead status.

Climate patterns can also vary the food base over 10- to 30- year periods, the spokesperson said.

Just Posted

Northern Sea Wolf departs from Greece on its way to B.C.

On November 3 the Northern Sea Wolf, departed from the Port of Piraeus in Athens, Greece

VIDEO: Government approves funding of $750,000 drug for B.C. woman

Approval comes one day after province announces funding for Soliris on a case-by-case basis

VIDEO: Rare comic showing Superman’s 1st appearance to be auctioned

The 1938 comic features Superman hoisting a car over his head

Canadian initiative fuelled by Terry Fox’s dream may be only hope for young cancer patients

Young cancer patients in rural or remote areas did not always get the testing available

Olympic gymnastics ex-doctor pleads guilty to sex charges

Aly Raisman, McKayla Maroney and Gabby Douglas are among the women who have publicly said they were among Nassar’s victims

Education minister blasts Chilliwack school trustee on gender issues

Fleming calls Neufeld’s behaviour ‘shameful’ and ‘unacceptable’

BC Transit buses to get safety door for drivers

These new full-length doors will be tested in Victoria, Kelowna and Abbotsford

‘Fresh eyes’ looking into three missing Cowichan Tribes men

First Nations want answers to their disappearances

Pedestrian hit moments after receiving safety reflector from police

The Vancouver Island man was treated for minor injuries by police at the scene

FortisBC LNG site exports first shipment of gas to China

The shipment is part of a pilot project that could see more exports in the future.

BC RCMP hunt for white SUV that rammed cruiser

Kamloops RCMP are looking for a white SUV headed north on the Yellowhead Highway

Most Read