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Maximum estimated returns from 1947 to 2018 (retrieved from Department of Fisheries and Oceans, British Columbia) of Chum and Coho salmon species for Deserted River.
Maximum estimated returns from 1947 to 2018 (retrieved from Department of Fisheries and Oceans, British Columbia) of Pink salmon for Deserted River.
Deserted River is the 2nd of four major salmon spawning rivers in Jervis Inlet. Enormous social, cultural and wildlife values (including the tsonai townsite) are attributed to this watershed in the Strategic Land Use Plan for the shishalh Nation (Draft 2007). Historically, Deserted River hosted peak annual salmon escapements of 100,000+ Pink, 38,500 Chum and 6,000 Coho. The most recent maximum annual escapement was 2,000 for Pink (1989-98), 60,000 for Chum (1989-2000), and 667 for Coho (1988-2000). In 2004, the Steelhead run was identified as having an extreme conservation concern with stocks believed to be at 10% or less of habitat capacity and likely subject to extinction.
Industrial logging began in the late 1930s and continued until the 1990s. During this time, flooding, scouring, silting and river channel movement in the lower section were identified. In 1997, a report, outlining the importance of the river in Pink and Chum production in the Jervis –Sechelt Inlets and their severe decline, recommended a spawning channel be created for the Pink which could be used by the Chum in the off years. Between the years 1981-85, 10,400 juvenile Coho and 27,600 juvenile Chum were released. In 1996, a detailed map of terrain stability and erosion potential for forest management was produced for the Ministry of Forests.
Fisheries values in the Deserted watershed are still considered to be very high. The Salmon Integrated Fisheries Management Plan for 2011/12 (Draft #2) advised that there could be a terminal commercial Chum fishery if the combined escapement for Jervis Inlet (of which Deserted River was one of the top 3 producers) reached 100,000. To date, this potential has not been realized. Currently, rehabilitative efforts are underway.