The Shape of the Season: 2016 Predictions

Sonia - April 5, 2016

The 2016 CSF fishing season is nearly upon us! After weeks of chatting with our fishermen and awaiting Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) predictions, we’re excited to tell you a bit about what you can expect this fishing season and when you might start receiving this year’s bounty of seafood!

May:

  • Spot Prawns: 
    • The spot prawn season happens every year in BC for just 40 days in May, after the prawns have finished spawning.
    • Live Prawns: Shaun Strobel will head out as a crew member on Stewart MacDonald‘s prawn boat near the Sunshine Coast in mid-May. The spot prawn season will open on May 12 this year, so our first live prawn pick-up will be on Thursday, May 19th.
    • Frozen Prawn Tails: Ivan Askgaard will head out on his freezer prawner off the Sunshine Coast in the first week of May and we expect to have our first tubs of frozen-at-sea spot prawn tails available for our members in all locations after the Victoria Day long weekend.

June:

  • Salmon:
    • The first gillnet sockeye openings happen in early June in Barkley Sound on the west coast of Vancouver Island and off the mouth of the Nass River in the far north coast of BC.
    • For the first time in decades, Otto Strobel has decided not to head north for the early Nass opening. Instead, he and his son, Shaun, will head to Barkley Sound in early June to gillnet for these sockeye closer to home. Early season predictions suggest the first opening there may be on Tuesday, June 7th. But fear not! Our other northern fishermen will still be heading up to fish the Nass sockeye run. We will update you when we have nailed down exactly who will be fishing the Nass openings and when we expect the first opening (typically around the second week in June).
  • Sablefish (Black Cod)
    • We’re excited to welcome onboard our friend and multi-generational fisherman, Shane Steer. Shane has sablefish quota in his family that he plans to fish this year, providing these beautiful, rich white fish for our members for the first time. Shane just bought a new boat and is working on it right now, so he isn’t sure precisely when he will head out for his sablefish, but we’ll keep you updated when we know more!
  • Lingcod
    • Our lingcod troller, Ray Ubell, is planning to head out for an early-season lingcod fishing trip this year, so we hope to have lingcod fillets available for you sometime in June.
  • Dungeness Crab
    • The commercial crab trapping season runs from late June to November and Stewart MacDonald will be out crabbing in and around his prawn and salmon fishing trips.
    • During this time, market crab prices fluctuate wildly. When market prices bottom out and our fishermen can’t get a fair price for their crab, that’s when we step in, offering a fair-trade price to fishermen that they couldn’t otherwise get and still ensuring that members pay a competitive price.
    • Because of this, we can’t predict exactly when we will offer live dungeness crab pick-ups, but we expect to have at least one in fall, and possibly more depending on how the season unfolds.
    • At this time, we are only able to offer live crab to members at the False Creek Fishermen’s Wharf as we don’t have access to crab processing.
  • Halibut
    • The halibut quota fishery is open from roughly March to November. Our small boat fishermen tend to wait until summer when the weather calms.
    • Our halibut fishermen have not yet made their commitments about when, where, and who expects to fish for our halibut, but we will let you know when we have more information.
    • We expect to have a new batch of halibut in late June or early July.

July:

  • July is the big salmon month!
    • Barkley Sound sockeye salmon gillnet fishing is expected to continue until mid July
    • Nass River salmon gillnet fishing may continue into July but it will shift from containing mostly sockeye salmon to mostly pink salmon
    • Skeena River gillnet salmon fishing will continue mostly for sockeye salmon
    • After Barkley Sound salmon fishing wraps up, Shaun may head to the mid coast to gillnet fish for chum salmon or head straight to Nootka Sound for August chinook fishery.
    • Ray Ubell, Shane Steer, and one or two other fishermen will be trolling for coho salmon near Haida Gwaii onboard their freezer trollers. These fish will be flash frozen at sea.

August:

  • Salmon
    • Nootka Sound chinook salmon (also known as spring) are forecast to have a good return this year. Shaun Strobel will head up to fish them when they return, usually around the second week of August.
    • Mid-coast chum salmon have their peak season in mid- to late-August so Shaun and Otto plan to head up to Bella Bella to fish them when the Nootka Sound chinook runs wrap up.
  • Tuna
    • Peter Muursepp will head out on a tuna trolling trip in August and into September off the west coast of Vancouver Island. His tuna are frozen at sea and cut into loins when he returns to port. Sometimes there is a bit of a bottle neck waiting to get the tuna cut and out to members so we shouldn’t expect to receive loins until September.

September:

  • Tuna
    • Peter Muursepp‘s tuna trip will continue and we can expect to have tuna loins available in September.
  • Salmon
    • We are not expecting any salmon fishing in September. This is not a Fraser River sockeye salmon year and so the Johnstone Strait is not expected to open for late summer sockeye fishing.

October:

  • Salmon
    • Although it’s not expected to be a sockeye salmon year in the Johnstone Strait, we do expect a good return of chum salmon in this area in October. Shaun will head up to fish these last salmon of the year.

November:

  • The fin fishing season is over by November, but this is the best time of year for oysters and clams.
  • Delia Becker and Scott Rempel will harvest their clams and oysters at their farm on Cortes Island for several pick-ups between November and April, 2017.

 

Sonia - April 5, 2016


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The Shape of the Season: 2016 Predictions

Sonia - April 5, 2016

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