VANCOUVER ISLAND, B.C. – Salmon returns have been healthy – at least on Vancouver Island.

And while the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) reported that nearly half of southern B.C.’s Chinook salmon populations are dwindling, Fisheries and Oceans Canada communications manager Lara Sloan said in an email to the newsroom that the report was “misreported/misinterpreted.”

Fisheries and Oceans Canada noted that the committee assessed 16 (out of a total 28 non-enhanced) populations of Chinook salmon.

Thirteen were assessed as at risk: eight as endangered; four as threatened and one as special concern.

“The remaining 12 populations are expected to be assessed next year,” Sloan said in the email.

According to a South Coast Salmon bulletin that was released Nov. 30,  adult Chinook returns in the Strait of Georgia are expected to be average to above average, and for continued rebuilding in the Cowichan (6,500 naturally spawning adults).

Meanwhile, Coho are expected to remain in a low productivity period throughout southern B.C.

Coho encounters in recreational fisheries were well above average in summer 2018, suggesting escapements could be higher than forecast.

And Chum returns in 2018 are expected to be above target for southeast Vancouver Island, but below target for mid-Vancouver Island systems and Jervis Inlet.

Chinook escapement counts to date for the Puntledge River

Summer run: peak estimate – 820, four year average – 855, 12 year average – 1,078

Fall run: peak estimate – 10,673, four year average – 8,623, 12 average – 7,174

Coho escapement counts to date for the Puntledge River

Peak estimate – 8,619, four year average – 3,994, 12 year average – 5,676

Chum escapement counts to date for the Puntledge River

Peak estimate – 39,451, four year average – 47,803, 12 year average – 68,547