Hupačasath First Nation closes fishery in Somass River due to low salmon escapement

Hupačasath First Nation (HFN) has successfully encouraged other stakeholders to halt fishing in the Somass River system. HFN has been concerned about the escapement and well-being of the fish in their waterways and advocated the fishing in the river be closed. In Hupačasath’s last communal fish plan they compromised and reduced their allowable catch by 2000 fish to encourage sustainability of the resource.

The escapement estimates through the Sproat and Stamp Falls fish ladders are well below the expected escapement target of approximately 80,000 through June 24th based on the forecasted run size. The total escapement estimate up the Somass River system is 46,668 through June 23rd.

The rising temperatures in the Alberni Valley have affected the river temperatures and have reached daily highs of 23.8˚C at Sproat River and 22.3 ˚C at Stamp Falls. These extreme water temperatures are nearing the lethal limit for salmon. Not only are the water temperatures high, the river levels are very low and not ideal for fish escapement. Forecasts for the next the week indicate high temperatures and a low likelihood for precipitation.

HFN will continue to work close with the Department of Fisheries of Oceans to monitor the escapements and create sustainable fishing plans for the weekend with other stakeholders in the Alberni Inlet.