Submission 0423-NICKERSON

Submitter: Michelle Nickerson

Community: Mission

Date Submitted: January 23, 2024

It is concerning that the disruption of redds by subsequent waves of spawning sockeye is ignored when calculating the effective spawner numbers used in various prediction models, including the Fraser River Sockeye Spawning Escapement Initiative. Omitting redd disruption could lead the models to over-predict the size of future runs.

I’ve sat in the gallery for a number of days for this Cohen Commission, including Tuesday Jan 18th where Mike Lapointe was speaking. After the day’s questioning was finished I spoke with Mr. Lapointe to ask him a question about the spawner numbers going into the various models including FRSSI. I wasn’t clear whether the spawning escapement or the effective spawner number was being put into these models. Mr. Lapointe said that it was the effective spawners going into the model. (A fully spawned female counts as 2, a partially spawned female is 1 and a non spawned female = 0, only females are counted as it is difficult to tell the spawning success of males) I was then directed me to a women who he works with who is more familiar with the model. I asked whether the effects of a big run where reds are being dug up by subsequent waves of spawners coming up the stream were taken into account for the effective numbers of spawners going into the models and they are not. This is somewhat concerning to me that this wouldn’t be taken into account in the models, and consequently could lead the model to over predict the size of the run four years after a big run goes through.

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