Fisheries restricts all fishing in Somass River

Low salmon escapement levels and high river temperatures have led to a complete fishing closure in the Somass River.

Low salmon escapement levels and high river temperatures have led to a complete fishing closure in the Somass River.

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans issued the statement on June 25 and the restriction started on June 29.

The fishing closure is total: aboriginal, commercial and sports fisheries are all banned from fishing for finfish in the Somass River until further notice.

The Hupacasath and Tseshaht First Nations voluntarily ceased fishing on the Somass late last week due to conservation concerns. According to the Hupacasath First Nation, 80,000 salmon were supposed to have escaped by June 24. At 49,000, DFO said only just over half of them did.

Rising river temperatures in rivers around the Alberni Valley have also been worrying; the Sproat River is up to 23.8 degrees Celsius and Stamp Falls is up to 22.3 degrees Celsius.

Hupacasath fisheries manager Graham Murell says temperatures that high are nearing lethal for the salmon in those rivers.

reporter@albernivalleynews.com

twitter.com/alberninews