Salmon by Seine

South Coast / Fraser River — SALMON AREA B


Sockeye Salmon


No seasonal dates identified.

Salmon Purse Seine

Seine fishermen encircle a large wall of netting around schools of salmon and pull the bottom of the netting closed, like a drawstring purse, to capture the fish. The so-called “purse” seine net is set from fishing vessels with the assistance of a small skiff. 

Harvesting Method

Salmon Purse Seine

Purse seining is an effective and selective method of harvesting salmon. Vessels average 50 feet (15 metres) in length and seine nets can be as long as 1,320 feet (402 metres) and 50 feet (15 metres) in depth. Seiners are crewed by five to seven fishermen. Seine vessels set their nets in rivers, estuaries or coastal inlets attempting to catch the salmon as they school and swim back to their natal rivers.

Salmon Purse Seine

Fishermen use a skiff to hold the large wall of netting in a steady position as the fishing vessel pulls the netting around a school of salmon. Once encircled, a hydraulic winch is used to pull the “purse line” to close the bottom of the net, catching the salmon and preventing their escape. A powerful drum then reels in the net close to the boat where the salmon are scooped out of the net live and unwanted species are released. Because of their effectiveness at catching salmon, seine fishery openings tend to be relatively short, allowing fishermen only hours or a few days to net their catch.

Conservation Measures

Purse seining has a low impact on marine habitats. A number of controls address conservation in the salmon seine fishery. These include:

  • strict annual catch limits
  • limitation on number of licensed fishing vessels;
  • restrictions on landing small fish;
  • seasonal and area closures for conservation purposes;
  • minimum mesh sizes on nets;
  • mandatory use of revival tanks to increase the survival rate of bycatch or non-targeted species;
  • brailing and sorting in order to minimize mortalities of unwanted species
  • daylight fisheries only
  • strict monitoring and recording of catch in logbooks

In this lobster fishing area, fish harvesters actively participate in scientific data collection and research such as:

  • a comprehensive data collection system on catches
  • scientific sampling of lobsters at sea
  • maintaining catch logbooks and scientific field notebooks

South Coast / Fraser River


Seafood Watch - Good Alternative

Marine Stewardship Council - Certified


The Department of Fisheries and Oceans manages this fishery as part of an integrated fisheries management strategy for all salmon in southern B.C. Download the most recent plan (PDF)


Salmon stocks are assessed by scientists in the Department and Fisheries and Oceans (DFO). For the most recent stock status, visit DFO Science

Quality and Handling

Seine-caught salmon are known for their quality and freshness. Seine fisheries tend to take place near fishing ports where catch can quickly be delivered and processed at local fish plants. Seiners typically sell their salmon “in the round,” that is, without being gutted or cleaned. They deliver their catch to shore once the fishery is closed or sell their salmon to packing vessels that quickly deliver the catch to fish plants where the fish is cleaned, washed, processed and, in some cases, frozen. The quick processing ensures that seine-caught salmon maintain their quality and freshness.


Food Info Sockeye Salmon


  • Colour: the richest red of all salmon, from deep orange to deep red
  • Texture: the firmest of Pacific salmon with medium-sized flakes
  • Flavour: a delicious, full-flavoured fillet whose high fat and oil content give it a distinctive richness
  • Perfect serve: Prized in Japanese cuisine, the sockeye’s firm, deep vermillion fillets are perfect for great-looking and tasting sashimi. Raw morsels, dipped in quality soy sauce with a dash of wasabi, quite literally melt in the mouth.