Kitwanga River Salmon Enumeration Facility: 2010 Annual Report


In 2010, the Gitanyow Fisheries Authority (GFA) operated the Kitwanga River Salmon Enumeration Facility (KSEF) for the 8th consecutive year to enumerate all five salmon species returning to the Kitwanga River. From July 6th to October 9th, 2010 a total of 20,804 sockeye (including 338-hatchery sockeye), 852 chinook, 63 jack chinook, 15,650 pink, 348 chum, and 1,381 coho salmon (including 165 Coded Wire Tag (CWT)) were enumerated through the facility. The 2010 Kitwanga sockeye escapement is the highest ever recorded by the GFA since they started enumerating sockeye in 2000. Hatchery sockeye represented 1.6% of the 2010 return. Aging results from wild and hatchery sockeye concluded that 99% of the adult sockeye returns in 2010 were 4-year old returning fish. The 2010 pink salmon return was very good considering it is 3.6 times greater than the brood year escapement. Compared to previous returns, chinook and chum escapements were low and the GFA have been observing a decline in escapements from both species. The 2010 coho escapement was low when compared to previous years but it is likely underestimated due to breaching of the fence during the peak of the coho run. Although the fence was breached before the end of the sampling period due to extremely high waters seen at the site, GFA believes that only escapement counts for coho salmon were compromised because all other salmon species are predicted to have already migrated past the KSEF.