Steelhead Stock Status Review British Columbia

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1 Steelhead Stock Status Review British Columbia Mark Beere - Senior Fisheries Biologist Skeena Region BC Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations

2 Overview 1. Stocks and Ecotypes in BC 2. Hatchery Augmentation 3. Stock Status - Regional Trends 4. Recreational Fishery Regional Trends 5. BC Policy, Management and Challenges

3 Stocks and Ecotypes in BC

4 Stocks and Ecotypes, CU s Ecotype Major systems Number of stocks Coastal winter (Oct - June) L. Fraser, Van Is, coastal Skeena, Haida Gwaii, Nass, Iskut, lower Stikine and Taku ~ Coastal summer (June - September) Lower Mainland, L. Fraser, Van Is, Bella Coola, Dean, North Coast ~30-40 Interior summer (June - November) Mid-Fraser, Upper Nass, Upper Skeena, Stikine, Taku ~70-80 n=430+

5 Taku Stikine Nass Skeena Haida Gwaii Dean Chilcotin Thompson Vancouver Island L. Fraser, Chilliwack, Coquihalla Vancouver

6 Hatchery Augmentation

7 SEP

8 Number of BC Streams Stocked with Steelhead Juveniles by Region Time Period Van. Is. Mainland Thompson Central Coast Skeena All Fry Smolt Fry Smolt Fry Smolt Fry Smolt Fry Smolt Fry Smolt

9 BC Hatchery Steelhead Releases

10 Stock Status - Regional Trends

11 Abundance and Productivity Most BC stocks occur in small coastal watersheds <300 km 2, typically support <10,000 smolts Coastal BC streams generally not naturally productive due to geology, high precipitation and gradient, in some cases declining salmon stocks Interior BC streams highly variable natural productivity, influenced by growth season and geology; south more productive, north limit of range considered very low (i.e. 4-5 years to grow a smolt) Aggregate abundance for BC ~340,000 wild steelhead

12 Skeena Steelhead Assessment Challenges

13 Assessment Methods: Total adult counts (n=7): resistivity (4), weirs (2), sonar (1) Abundance indices (n 30): Adults Gillnet test fisheries (2) Fishwheels (1) Snorkel surveys (10-20) Aerial/boat counts (2) Creel (1) Steelhead Harvest Analysis (catch, effort) Juveniles Fry and parr sampling (often hydro-related)

14 Tak u West Vancouver Island South Coast Summer West Vancouver Island Summer South Coast Summer South Coast Summer South Coast Summer Middle Fraser River Summer Lower Fr aser Ri ver South Coast Summer Fraser River Canyon South Coast Summer Tak u Tak u Routine management zone Conservation concern Extreme conservation concern Tak u Conservation Status Tak u Tak u Tak u North Coast Bela Coola Dean (Ahrens 2004)

15 Tak u Tak u Tak u Tak u Tak u West Vancouver Island Tak u Tak u North Coast Tak u Tak u West Vancouver Island West Vancouver Island West Vancouver Island Tak u West Vancouver Island West Vancouver Island Tak u Routine management zone Conservation concern Extreme conservation concern Conservation Status Tak u Tak u ( Beere 2014)

16 Vancouver Island Coastal Summer Stocks

17 Vancouver Island Cowichan Englishman Coastal Winter Stocks

18 Keogh River Adult Abundance (Coastal Winter Stock)

19 Marine Survival Estimates for Steelhead Smolts by Year of Ocean Entry, Keogh River, BC NB: Data for 2011 requires data from additional returns in 2014 for the complete estimate.

20 Lower Mainland Coastal Summer Stock Coastal Winter Stock

21 Lower Mainland Little Campbell River Fence Adult Steelhead Count Coastal Winter Stock

22 Thompson/ Interior Fraser Interior Summer Stocks

23 Central Coast Dean River (Coastal Summer Stock) 110 yr average = 2531

24 North Coast Skeena (Interior Summer Stocks)

25 Skeena SR Aggregate, Bulkley-Morice, Upper Sustut

26 North Coast Nass Interior Summer Stock - Fishwheel Data

27 Skeena Test Fishery, Nass FW, Fraser Test Fishery (Interior Summer Stocks)

28 Sport Fishery Regional Trends

29 Results of Steelhead Harvest Analysis (SHA) Effort by Region and Provincially

30 Results of Steelhead Harvest Analysis (SHA) Catch by Region and Provincially

31

32

33 Effort Distribution over Top 5 Streams by Region

34 Catch Distribution over Top 5 Streams by Region

35

36

37 BC s Top 25 Steelhead Rivers Angler Questionnaire Data

38 Vancouver Island

39 Vancouver Island

40 Lower Mainland

41 Chilliwack and Stamp ST Hatchery Returns -SHA Data

42 Interior Fraser

43 Mid Coast

44 North Coast

45 Kitimat River Hatchery Returns SHA and Brood Collection Data

46 North Coast

47 North Coast Haida Gwaii

48 BC Policy, Management and Challenges

49 Policy, Management and Challenges Resource Development Linear (pipelines, Northern Transmission Line), mines (gold, coal) Steelhead Stream Classification Policy Classification as wild (default) or hatchery-augmented All wild fish catch and release, harvest on hatchery fish Hatcheries only for sport fish augmentation, not rebuilding Completed 5 year review Provincial Framework for Steelhead Management in BC Consistency in management approach while maintaining a diversity of angling experiences bait ban for all summer run fish? Seasonal closures where extended freshwater residency occurs Interceptions in Tidal Salmon Fisheries Provincial objective: Maximize escapement upstream of where interception occurs by minimize encounter rates in non-selective fisheries For conservation e.g. Thompson or socio-economic e.g. Skeena

50 Headwaters of the Skeena, Nass and Stikine Rivers

51 Acknowledgements: Rob Bison Sue Pollard Mike McCulloch Cynthia Brossard Kenji Miyazaki Wallace Cheung Joe De Gisi Dean Peard Richard Alexander Lee Williston

52 Tyee Test (Gillnet) Fishery DFO (1956 present)

53 Moricetown Canyon (Bulkley River) Mark-Recapture Project Wet suwet en Fisheries (1999 present)

54 Kloiya River Winter Steelhead Resistivity Counter (2006 present)

55 Skeena Region Steelhead Molecular Genetics (1990 present)

56 Skeena River Interior Summer Ecotype Stock Composition

57 Kitwanga River Resistivity/Dual Beam Sonar Gitanyow (2003 present)

58 Upper Sustut River Enumeration Weir (1985, present)

59 Nass River Fishwheels Nisga a/lgl (1992 present)

60

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