When 21 million sockeye salmon return just five years after stocks crashed below two million, it’s hard to complain.


But commercial fishermen in B.C. will leave about $20 million on the table this year, according to one estimate, thanks to overly cautious escapements this year.


As this year’s Fraser River sockeye season drew to a close last week, returns were estimated at 20.8 million. That’s about seven million fewer fish than in 2010, but still a banner year, compared with most returns over the last few decades.


“It’s probably among the top five runs within the last 60 years,” said Rob Morley, vice-president of product and corporate development for the Canadian Fishing Co.

Even so, retired fisheries scientist Carl Walters estimates that Area E gillnetters could easily have been allocated an additional one million sockeye this year.


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