The Iskut River sockeye population is a significant component of the annual Stikine sockeye fishery. Iskut River sockeye currently are known only to spawn in the lower portion of the river. However, in the upper Iskut there are multiple large chain lakes that potentially could support substantial sockeye production if migration access could be provided.
This project would be an initial scoping and reconnaissance exercise to assess the relative feasibility of providing sockeye access to the upper Iskut watershed. Project activities would include: collecting information from literature and mapping; exploratory field surveys; and consultation with agencies, local First Nations; and relevant industry proponents (i.e. hydro projects on the Iskut).
The Alaska Department of Fish and Game in concert with Alaska Salmon Hatchery Operators and financial support from the salmon processing community has undertaken a long-term study concerning interactions of hatchery and natural origin salmon in natural systems. Samples have been collected from 4 chum salmon streams in Southeast Alaska (SEAK) for studies of potential relative difference in survival of offspring between hatchery and wild fish spawning in wild stock streams. This information will allow us to assess the ecological and genetic consequences of hatchery strays on fitness of wild spawners at the drainage scale. Evaluation of this scale is important because it will provide insight into how much these consequences can vary locally (and, potentially, why). Adult chum were sampled in 2013 and 2014 to establish genetic markers for identification of progeny in subsequent years. Otolith analysis reveals if a spawner is of hatchery or natural origin and tissue samples will be used to identify parentage of progeny beginning in 2017 and continuing in 2018 – 2023. Fish spawning in the 4 study streams will be similarly sampled for two complete generations; for chum salmon, sampling in each stream will occur over 11 years with the goal to sample F1 and F2 progeny from the first years of the project.
The Salish Sea Marine Survival Project leverages human and financial resources from the United States and Canada to determine the primary factors affecting the survival of juvenile salmon and steelhead in the Salish Sea. It is the largest and most important research of its kind in the shared waters of British Columbia and Washington State, addressing a key uncertainty impeding salmon recovery and sustainable fisheries. The project will, for the first time, undertake a comprehensive study of the physical, chemical and biological factors impacting salmon survival, in order to improve our collective understanding of salmon in saltwater, facilitating smarter management and stronger returns.
Over 60 organizations, representing diverse philosophies and encompassing most of the region’s fisheries and marine research and management complex, are working together on this massive transboundary effort. And, the Pacific Salmon Foundation (PSF) and Long Live the Kings (LLTK) are coordinating it.
Southern Chum stock strength must be monitored to facilitate their management, in accordance with Annex IV, Chapter 6 of the Pacific Salmon Treaty (Treaty). Catch composition in fisheries targeting Southern origin Chum populations informs managers of stock strength, mixed fishery components and exploitation rates. . We are proposing to sample Southern BC and US mixed stock Chum fisheries to determine stock composition to the levels of Canadian Conservation Unit (CU) and United States Management Unit (MU) level using genetic mixed stock analysis. Along with other stock assessment information, such as escapement, the data provided from this work is a critical component required by the ChumGEM model for run-reconstruction and eventually for forecasting run strength. This proposal follows from a previous Southern Fund project ‘Joint US and CA mixed-stock Chum fisheries sampling design’ which occurred 2012-2015. The goal is to assess the mixed stock Chum fisheries for four consecutive years in a multi-agency sampling effort.
This project is one component of the Coast Wide CWT System which includes fully integrated CWT tagging, sampling, lab operations, analyses and data exchange along the entire west coast of North America with a high level of coordination and cooperation among the coastal states and Canada across many political jurisdictions. The funding supports fishery CWT sampling from Commercial, First Nations economic, and recreational fisheries in BC that encounter Chinook indicator stocks, as well as head lab operations and the management of resulting data.
CWT data is essential in annual analyses in deriving Canadian and US allotments of chinook total allowable catch, assessing compliance under the PST, calculating fisheries and stock specific statistics (i.e. exploitation rates, survival rates, maturation rates), monitoring trends in marine survival, assessing fishing impacts, forecasting pre-fishery ocean stock abundances, and evaluating the effectiveness of hatchery production and experimental programs. CWT data is also important for assessing stock status, forecasting stock abundance, and monitoring trends in regional survival patterns for climate change investigations and ecosystem-based assessments. Long-term time series of CWT data is key information to discern variations in salmon abundance resulting from variations in ocean survival and human-induced impacts.
The establishment of a chum sampling program for the Strait of Juan de Fuca has been identified as a top research priority through the Southern Endowment Fund by the Chum Technical Committee and other interested parties.
Strait of Juan de Fuca Sampling Program:
With the goal of stock reconstruction for Southern BC and Washington Chum salmon, one significant data gap is the diversion of chum populations through the Southern Route via Juan de Fuca Strait. This project will work towards addressing that data gap by sampling this migration route in both US and Canadian waters to determine:
The spatial and temporal stock composition of chum salmon migrating through the Southern Diversion route,
Provide sampling platform for stock identification, migration rate studies etc.
Develop time series of Catch per Unit effort data to pair with the Johnstone Strait Test Fishery to determine diversion rate of various chum populations.
One 4 year cycle of sampling in Juan de Fuca has been completed (2016-2019). It is important that this program continue through at least two full brood cycles to evaluate inter-annual variability in the spatial and temporal composition of chum stocks migrating through this pathway. The existing fisheries in the Juan de Fuca Strait have limited effort (consistent with Treaty provisions) and a dedicated assessment project of is required to generate adequate samples for analysis. Data collected in the first 4 years has improved our understanding greatly of the temporal and spatial variations of stock compositions and relative abundance moving through Juan de Fuca Strait.
We propose to maintain increased coded-wire tagging (CWT) for nine Chinook indicator stocks in B.C. that contribute to Northern and Southern Boundary Area fisheries. This proposal will fund incremental tagging beyond the base level provided by the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) in order to meet standards derived by the PSC CWT work group to account for survival rate, fishery sampling rate, exploitation rate, and an 80% probability of attaining a minimum standard of observed CWT recoveries. This work has been funded through the Pacific Salmon Treaty (PST) Coded Wire Tag Improvement Fund from 2009-2013, and the PSC Northern Endowment Fund and as a Very High Priority Chinook project in 2014-2016. This project proposes to maintain the increased tagging rates on the highest priority indicator stocks through to 2018, until which time CWTs will be the primary fishery assessment tool for Chinook salmon. This proposal addresses several priorities for implementation of the PST and will improve the ability to better manage the Chinook stocks and fisheries of relevance to the PST.
This proposal is for stocks providing the majority of benefits, based on total fishing mortality distribution, to Northern and Southern Boundary Area fisheries. This proposal addresses nine stock groups represented by CWT indicator programs on Robertson (WCVI), Quinsam (Upper Georgia Strait), Lower Shuswap and Nicola (Fraser Early), Atnarko (Central Coast), Kitsumkalum (North Coast), Harrison and Chilliwack (Fraser Late), and Cowichan (lower Georgia Strait) populations. When these stocks are healthy and abundant they can be large contributors to Southeast Alaska (SEAK), Northern British Columbia (NBC) and West Coast Vancouver Island (WCVI) fisheries.
Since 2009, the Pacific Salmon Commission (PSC) Chinook Technical Committee (CTC) has established a 15% coefficient of variation (CV) as an acceptable level of uncertainty for estimating Chinook Salmon populations that are used in managing US and Canadian Chinook Salmon fisheries. Overall, the Nass Chinook Salmon program has achieved the CV data standard in 15 of 24 (63%) years since the start of the Nisga’a Fisheries Program in 1992. The main factor determining CV has been the number of marked Chinook Salmon recovered at terminal spawning areas in the Upper Nass River. Achieving an adequate number of marked recoveries has required two conditions to be met: (1) a sufficient number of Chinook Salmon are marked (>1250) at the fishwheels and (2) sufficient effort is made on the spawning grounds for recovering marks such that >50 marks are recovered. Results from the past funded studies have indicated that these requirements can be met, even in low return years, by marking adult Chinook Salmon at both fishwheel marking locations (Gitwinksihlkw and Grease Harbour), examining fish throughout the run at Meziadin Fishway and the Kwinageese videocounting weir, and conducting carcass surveys at Damdochax Creek. These three Upper Nass spawning systems represent on average 39% of the aggregate spawning stock based on stock composition estimates and are geographically separated to be representative of all stocks that spawn above the marking sites.
The primary purposes of the proposed project are to: (1) continue to augment marking and recovery efforts, (2) improve methods for generating accurate and precise MR escapement estimates for the Upper Nass River Chinook Salmon aggregate stock, and (3) achieve unbiased population estimates that meet the PSC CTC data standard (CV – 15%).
The 2005 PSC Report of the Expert Panel on the Future of the Coded Wire Tag Recovery Program for Pacific Salmon identified shortcomings of coho indicator stocks due to low tag recoveries. With the prolonged low marine survival rates of Southern B.C. (SBC) coho and subsequent reduction in fisheries, the coho stocks in SBC fail to obtain sufficient recoveries of coded-wire-tags (CWTs). In addition to the increased sampling already implemented as part of the CWT improvement program directed towards coho, increasing the number of CWT’s applied to coho will provide better information regarding marine survival, distribution and exploitation rates of SBC coho. This project proposes to increase CWT application at 4 hatchery stocks to provide this information to analysts and fishery managers.
The 2005 Pacific Salmon Commission (PSC) Report of the Expert Panel on the Future of the Coded Wire Tag Recovery Program for Pacific Salmon (PSC Tech. Report No. 18) identified shortcomings of coho indicator stocks due to low tag recoveries (Hankin et al. 2005). With the prolonged low marine survival rates of Southern B.C. (SBC) coho and subsequent reduction in fisheries, the coho stocks in SBC fail to obtain sufficient recoveries of coded-wire tags (CWTs). In addition to the increased sampling already implemented as part of the CWT improvement program directed towards coho, increasing the number of CWT’s applied to coho will provide better information regarding marine survival, distribution and exploitation rates of SBC coho.