Gitanyow Fisheries Authority Kitwanga River Salmon Enumeration Facility: 2009 Annual Report

Abstract

Since 2003, the Gitanyow Fisheries Authority has operated the Kitwanga River Salmon Enumeration Facility (KSEF), which is a permanent fence structure with removable panels designed to trap and allow identification and enumeration of upstream migrating salmon. From July 10th until October 28th in 2009, GFA enumerated 3,047 sockeye (Oncorhynchus nerka), 824 chinook (O. tshawytscha), 559,865 pink (O. gorbuscha), 829 chum (O. keta) and 12,080 coho (O. kisutch) salmon. Sockeye, chinook and pink all had later than average arrivals, while the timing of chum and coho were normal. Sockeye (n=397), chinook (n=137) and chum (n=219) were sampled to determine age, sex, ripeness and kype presence. Fork length, post-orbital hypural length (chinook and chum only) and snout length (chinook only) measurements were also collected. DNA was also collected from sockeye salmon. In 2009, sockeye were mostly 4 year old fish from the 2005 brood year (n = 287 or 88.0%). However, some 5 year old fish from the 2004 brood year (n = 37 or 11.3%) and 3 year old fish from the 2006 brood year (n = 1 or 0.3%) also returned to the Kitwanga in 2009. For chinook, the age breakdown was 5 year old fish from the 2004 brood year (n = 53 or 57.0%), 4 year old fish from the 2005 brood year (n = 22 or 23.7%) and 6 year old fish from the 2003 brood year (n = 10 or 10.8%). For chum salmon the age breakdown was 4 year old fish from the 2005 brood year (n = 203 or 95.8%), 5 year old fish from the 2004 brood year (n = 7 or 3.3%) and 3 year old fish from the 2006 brood year (n = 2 or 0.9%). Compared to previous returns pink and coho were much higher; the chinook run was much lower; the chum run slightly lower and the sockeye run substantially higher.