Sockeye Smolt Enumeration at Babine Lake

The Babine Lake watershed is the principal sockeye rearing area for Skeena sockeye, producing up to 90% of the sockeye returns to the Skeena River. It supports an average yearly harvest of 1.5 million sockeye in commercial (Canada and United States), recreational, and First Nations fisheries and an average escapement of 1 million spawning sockeye. The Babine sockeye smolt counting fence was closed in 2002 due to government budget constraints. Restarting the Babine smolt enumeration fence would provide important information on Babine sockeye population status, and basic information that will greatly contribute to understanding the large inter-annual variations in returns observed in the past two decades.