The Babine is one of the most important tributaries of the Skeena River. It’s not only home to one of the largest sockeye runs on the Skeena, but also an important steelhead run.
As fish swim up the Babine River to Lake Babine to spawn, they have to clear the Babine Fish Weir, a metal fence that spans the river near the mouth of the lake. This fence as been in place for decades and helps correlate the numbers of fish returning to the system next to the data collected at the Tyee Test Fishery near the mouth of the Skeena.
Being able to confirm the number of fish entering the Babine allows fisheries managers to better understand the in-season shifts in populations, which in turn helps direct conservation measures.
However, the Babine Fish Weir, also allows for one of the most sustainable sockeye fisheries to take place, the Talok fishery, run by the Lake Babine Nation and supported by North Delta Seafoods. This fishery only targets Babine sockeye and ensures no bycatch. It also employs dozens of people for local villages like Fort Babine and Tachet, communities that don’t necessarily have a lot of economic opportunities near by.
For the people who work at the fence, it’s a positive experience, one they couldn’t imagine anywhere else.
I had a chance to checkout the Babine Fish Weir in August 2022 during the final stages of the largest sockeye run in decades.
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