Lake Babine Nation Fisheries (LBNF) plans to work with Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) to continue the investigation of the behaviour and ecology of Babine River sockeye fry. The proposed project is composed of four relatively discrete components which include:
- early life history behaviour and migration;
- extent and rate of predation on juvenile sockeye;
- egg-to-fry and fry-to-smolt survival, frequency of occurrence of disease and parasites and condition as a function of length and weight; and
- presence and behaviour of sockeye fry rearing in downstream slow water habitats to obtain evidence of a riverine juvenile sockeye ecotype.
Other observed adverse effects that may affect sockeye fry survival and overall sockeye production will be documented. These studies are intended to address the diminished abundance of Late Run Upper and Lower Babine River sockeye in their juvenile freshwater environment.
N16-I27 Babine River Sockeye Migration and Predation Report 2016. Year 2 of 3
N15-I55 Babine River Sockeye Migration and Predation Report. Year 1 of 3
A sockeye enhancement program has been ongoing at Tatsamenie Lake since 1990. A review of the program was funded by the Northern Fund in 2005, and in 2008, the Northern Fund began supporting the Extended Sockeye Fry Rearing Project.
The fry were originally reared in lake pens, but because of a devastating disease outbreak, the project shifted to onshore rearing systems beginning in 2009. The egg to smolt survivals of the fed fry have been variable but have ranged from 10% to 70%, or 5 to 15 times compared to wild fry, depending on fry behaviour after outplanting. Assessment of adult production from this project is ongoing. Smolt to adult survivals of the reared fry will be definitively determined with the return of the corresponding adults in the coming years, but to date, the adult production from reared fry has been lower than expected. This project continues to test a technique that has the potential of increasing production for other small scale sockeye salmon enhancement projects as well as rebuilding the Tatsamenie Lake sockeye stock in low brood year cycles.
Also at Tatsamenie Lake, the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans began a smolt enumeration program in 1996, and this ran continuously from 1998 through to 2011. The Northern Fund began supporting this program in 2012, and the two programs were combined in 2015. The combination allowed the Tatsamenie Lake sockeye smolt mark-recapture project to extend beyond its previous end date of June 30, through to the second week of September. This provides a more accurate smolt population estimate as well as increased precision of the estimated enhanced sockeye survival and production. This also allows for monitoring of potential early out-migration of the reared fry.
N19-E02 Tatsamenie Lake Sockeye Fry Rearing and Smolt Projects 2019 Report
N18-E07 Tatsamenie Lake Sockeye Fry Rearing and Smolt Report
N17-E01 Tatsamenie Lake Rearing Final Report
N16-E01 Tatsamenie Lake Sockeye Fry Rearing and Smolt Projects 2016
N15-E01 2015 Tatsamenie Lake Sockeye Fry Extended Rearing and Smolt. Year 11
N14-E01 2014 Tatsamenie Lake Sockeye Fry Extended Rearing. Year 10; N14-E06 2014 Tatsamenie Lake Smolt Project. Year 3
N13-E02 2013 Tatsamenie Lake Sockeye Fry Extended Rearing. Year 9
N13-E07 2013 Tatsamenie Lake Smolt Project. Year 2
The Lake Babine Nation Fisheries Department (LBNF), in collaboration with the DFO, propose to build on success in the 2013 – 2019 smolt project by continuing to operate the Babine smolt enumeration facilities to provide sockeye smolt emigration estimates and smolt fitness data for the Babine Lake Watershed. Smolt production and fitness are effective indicators of Babine Lake ecosystem health which can be used to initiate and direct resource management initiatives intended to protect the Babine Lake watershed. Continued smolt trap operation would extend the data series analyzed by the DFO from 1959 to 2002, jointly by the LBN and SFC from 2013 to 2015 and independently by LBNF from 2016 to 2019. We believe that continuous data from the Babine smolt enumeration fence would provide important information on Babine sockeye population status that will contribute critical information to the understanding the large inter-annual variations in returns observed in the past two decades. An uninterrupted set of sockeye smolt population data over multiple years will help address one of the most fundamental questions of salmon stocks management — under which conditions are freshwater or marine environments the primary driver determining salmon returns? We propose to continue the Babine sockeye smolt enumeration program in 2020 to continue monitoring smolt production, which is necessary to determine the effects of annual variation in climactic conditions, habitat conditions and prey availability.
N19-I42 Babine Lake Watershed Sockeye Smolt Enumeration Project – Mark-Recapture 2019 Report
N18-I33 Babine Lake Watershed Sockeye Smolt Enumeration Project – Mark-Recapture Report 2018
N17-I31 Babine Lake Watershed Sockeye Smolt Enumeration Project – Mark-Recapture
N16-I10 Babine Lake Watershed Sockeye Smolt Enumeration Project – Mark-Recapture 2016
N15-I17 2015 Babine Lake Sockeye Smolt Enumeration – Mark-Recapture. Year 3 of 4
N14-I15 Babine Lake Sockeye Smolt Enumeration – Mark-Recapture. Year 2 of 4
N13-I22 Babine Lake Sockeye Smolt Enumeration - Mark-Recapture Year 1 of 4