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Hello All 17,000 of you salmon people on this list!!

The Columbia River is now receiving near record daily numbers of sockeye salmon passing Bonneville Dam in Washington State! Their Technical Advisory Committee has upgraded the run as they are now expecting a return that will break the previous record set in 1955.


Also people are cheering to see large numbers of sockeye returning to Spout Lake on western Vancouver Island. The fish are large and beautiful.

These two early returns suggest the North Pacific was full of good food for sockeye. These two runs were unaffected by last year's crash.

The indicators for the Fraser River are good. Some portion of sockeye return a year earlier than the rest of their generation and they are called "jacks." The number of jacks was extremely high last year. This suggests that this generation of Fraser sockeye made it out to sea in good shape and had a good first year at sea. In the past the number of jacks was an excellent predictor of the size of the next year's run, but the scientists who follow sockeye have found they are not as reliable as they use to be.

The Fraser River sockeye stocks are like a rope. They are many different runs that spawn in many different areas of the river and these runs are made of many generations. The generations are not all equal. There are dominant cycles and off-cycles. This is pulse of salmon life. All these individual strands of runs and cycles twine together like a strong, living rope. The strands are separate, but they twist together as they run to sea and back.

Fraser sockeye scientists are not able to predict returns anymore. While predictions remain true in Alaskan waters, something has changed in BC waters that no one has measured and factored into the models. There is a new and unknown variable having strong effect.

There is a good chance BC will be blessed with an abundant sockeye return to the Fraser River system. If we are lucky enough (and luck is now involved as mangers are running blind) please don't let the media tell you we don't need the Cohen Inquiry or any of the other investigations into the decline of the Fraser sockeye. I say this because this is what happened last year with the pink salmon returns. We were asked to believe that because we got one good run back, we could all abandon concerns and vigilance. The return this year is no indication the other years and runs have or will recover. In fact for reasons no one can explain yet, this strong Fraser cycle has been less impacted than all the others over the past ten years.

If we get this run back we can know there is hope and all the more reason to do everything we can to make sure BC and the world do not lose this generous fish.

I love this time of year, when hope rules and we wait to receive the power of the natural world to feed us, and our world. We are increasingly lucky to live in this part of the world where hope is still possible.

We are posting lots of news and updates at www.salmonaresacred.org

Also thank you for all your orders at alexandramorton.ca you are keeping me viable!

Dr. Alexandra Morton
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