The return migrations of Fraser River sockeye populations overlap in space and time which affects their vulnerability in mixed-stock fisheries. Catches in fisheries directed at populations with harvestable surpluses are often constrained by impacts on stocks of high conservation concern, thus reducing total allowable catches (TACs) available to both countries. Test fisheries are key to informing reasonably accurate and timely estimates of Fraser sockeye and pink salmon run strength. However, these test fisheries sample very small fractions of the daily abundance which limits their capacity to provide run size estimates of sufficient certainty prior to verification by lower Fraser acoustics approximately one week later. This creates time lags that constrain the Panel’s ability to meet international and domestic catch allocation objectives. Furthermore, the return to use of fish for funding test fishing activities in Canada has increased concerns about the number and associated costs of test fisheries. As well, there are twelve test fisheries implemented to sample Fraser sockeye and pink salmon which are used to inform fisheries management decisions, some of which provide more useful and accurate information than others. Thus, a review of the current approach is warranted.
Fraser River pink salmon have been supporting fisheries of growing importance in both countries in most recent years, and fishing impacts on intermingled Fraser River sockeye populations that are of concern (e.g. Late-run sockeye) and have limited directed harvests of those pink salmon. In-season assessments of migration overlap, run size, and associated TACs depend on data obtained from 11 test fisheries which inform the Fraser River Panel’s decisions and are the focus of this proposal.
S17-I03 Summary of a Review of Fraser River Test Fisheries Report 2017
S16-I07 Improving Fraser River Test Fisheries and Run Size Estimates: Workshop Report 2016
This proposal involves the enumeration of escapement of Chinook and sockeye salmon to three locations on Alsek River in Canada in collaboration with the Champagne and Aishihik First Nations (CAFN). The core of the project is the continuation of the long-standing Klukshu River enumeration project. Since 1976 Klukshu River enumeration has served as the tool by which Alsek River Canadian harvest opportunities are regulated and a critical tool for determining whether both Klukshu River, and since 2005, drainage-wide Alsek River Chinook and sockeye salmon escapement goals are achieved. Since 2016 video technology has been successfully used to enumerate returning salmon at Klukshu River.
Based on successes in 2019, we are again requesting funds in this project to support CAFN in providing technical assistance on all aspects of the project, as well as funding for continuation of two collaborative pilot projects in the Alsek River drainage. The first pilot project is to determine if sonar technology can be implemented in the Blanchard River to enumerate important Alsek River Chinook and sockeye stocks. Project scoping and preliminary trials began in 2018, and in 2019, with the support of NEF funding, we were able to deliver a successful season of sonar enumeration covering the Chinook migration period. The lessons learned and successes of the 2019 season indicate that ongoing sonar monitoring of this important stock may be annually feasible. The second pilot project is to build on past Takhanne River Chinook salmon enumeration projects by implementing non-invasive snorkel surveys to enumerate salmon. This project was very successful in 2018 and 2019 in allowing a complete census of the Takhanne River Chinook salmon stock, as well as providing valuable information on sockeye salmon in the Takhanne River. This project is adding valuable new data points to the historic time series of Takhanne salmon survey work and is now established as ongoing annual monitoring of an important Alsek River Chinook salmon stock.
N19-I22 Alsek River Watershed – Chinook and Sockeye Salmon Enumeration 2019 Report
N17-VHP08 Klukshu Chinook and Sockeye Enumeration - Final
N16-I52 Klukshu Chinook and Sockeye Enumeration Report 2016
With increasing pressure to ease fisheries restraints on Interior Fraser River (IFR) Coho, a new emphasis must be placed on better exploitation rate (ER) estimates. There is limited hatchery capacity for coho coded wire tag (CWT) smolt production in the IFR and that capacity is currently split between two systems in the Thompson River complex whereby the Coldwater and Eagle Rivers both receive approximately 60,000 smolts per year. The works proposed here will strengthen the current Coldwater CWT indicator stream assessment.The Coldwater River coho program has been an indicator for IFR coho since 1987 and also benefits from the Nicola Tribal Association’s (NTA) Aboriginal Fisheries Strategy (AFS) enumeration activities including area under the curve (AUC), DIDSON operations, and carcass recovery. Current Coldwater indicator program involves a system escapement estimate using AUC and DIDSON technology. Carcass recovery is used to determine adipose fin clip (AFC) and sex ratios. We propose to enhance the existing program to obtain greater certainty around both the escapement estimate and AFC ratios of IFR coho in the Coldwater River thereby providing greater certainty around the CWT ER of IFR coho.
S19-SP35 Coldwater River Adult Coho Enumeration 2019 Report
S18-SP06 Coldwater River Adult Coho Enumeration
S17-I29 Coldwater River Adult Coho Enumeration
S16-I16 Coldwater River Adult Coho Enumeration Report 2016
The North Coast-Skeena First Nations Stewardship Society (NCSFNSS) proposes to conduct a creel survey of the Area 3 and 4 recreational fishery following the design and methodology used by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) in the last 6 years (Van Tongeren 2012), in order to ensure continuity of data for temporal comparisons. Software for data management and analysis will be developed in partnership with LGL to offer comparable statistics and precision of catch and effort estimates as provided by DFO’. The purpose of the survey is to provide estimates of the catch and effort of all species targeted by the recreational fishery with known variance. Of high priority for the survey is the provision of monthly in-season catch estimates for all salmon species and Halibut harvested in the North Coast recreational fishery. Biological data will also be collected, such as fin clip incidence for Coho and Chinook, scale samples of Chinook, and Halibut lengths.
N19-I35 North Coast (Areas 3 & 4) Recreational Angling Creel Survey 2019 Report
N18-VHP11 North Coast (Areas 3 & 4) Recreational Angling Creel Survey Report 2018
N17-VHP15 North Coast (Areas 3 & 4) Recreational Angling Creel Survey 2017
N16-I29 North Coast (Areas 3 & 4) Creel Survey Report 2016
N15-I30 North Coast (Areas 3 & 4) Creel Survey. Year 1 of 4
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.
S18-VHP13 Increased north-migrating Chinook indicator stock CWT to improve the quality of Chinook indicator stock analyses
S17-VHP19 Increased north-migrating Chinook salmon indicator stock coded-wire tagging to improve the quality of Chinook indicator stock analyse
VHP16-03 Increased Chinook salmon stock coded-wire tagging to improve the quality of Chinook indicator stock analyses report. Year 2
VHP15-03 Increased Chinook Salmon Stock Coded-Wire Tagging to Improve the Quality of Chinook Indicator Stock Analyses. Year 1
N14-I20 Increased North-Migrating Chinook Salmon Indicator Stock Coded-Wire Tagging to Improve the Quality of Chinook Indicator Stock Analyses
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%).
N18-VHP13 Nass chinook salmon mark-recapture Report 2018
N17-VHP04 Nass Chinook Mark-Recapture Report 2017
N16-I22 Nass Chinook Mark-Recapture Report 2016 Year 8
N15-I39 Nass Chinook Mark-Recapture Report 2015. Year 7
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.
S19-SP18 Increased CWT application in Southern B.C. coho indicator stocks 2019 Report
S18-SP25 Increased CWT application in Southern B.C. Coho indicator stocks
S17-I08 Increased CWT application in Southern B.C. coho indicator stocks
S16-I02 Increased CWT application in Southern B.C. coho indicator stocks report 2016. Year 2
S15-I10 Increased CWT Application in Southern B.C. Coho Indicator Stocks 2015
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.
S18-SP10 Increased Hatchery Production and Coded Wire Tagging of Interior Fraser Coho
S17-I12 Increased Hatchery Production and Coded Wire Tagging of Interior Fraser Coho
S16-I24 Increased Hatchery Production and Coded Wire Tagging of Interior Fraser Coho Report. Year 1 of 3
Significant financial support has been invested in Lakelse sockeye restoration initiatives over the past decade. Lakelse sockeye were enhanced with marked fry releases from 2006 through 2013. Returning adult sockeye will continue to be assessed through a mark-recapture program to evaluate the success of the hatchery program and to estimate the total return to Williams Creek. A small portion of adult sockeye pairs will be transported into the Upper Williams Spawning Channel to seed that habitat with sockeye eggs. Some continued monitoring of habitat projects in the Lakelse watershed are also part of this proposal, including assessment of incubation success and flow monitoring at the upper channel and monitoring Scully Creek adult returns.
Several habitat restoration projects were undertaken to improve spawning conditions for sockeye in the Lakelse Watershed from 2006 to 2014. This assessment program will continue to monitor the effectiveness of those projects, identify maintenance issues and document lessons learned.
From 2006 to 2013, ~300K adipose clipped sockeye fry were released annually into Williams Creek in the Lakelse watershed to increase fry recruitment to the lake. This project ensures the continued assessment of that program. This is achieved through a mark-recapture study to estimate hatchery returns as well as estimate the overall escapement to Williams Creek, the primary sockeye spawning tributary in Lakelse.
N17-E05 Lakelse Sockeye Adult Monitoring Final Report
N16-E03 Lakelse Sockeye Adult Monitoring Fry Outplant Report 2016 Year 1 of 3
Nass Chum Salmon are a key species to benefit from better stock assessment and data acquisition. Significant harvests of Nass Chum have occurred in both Canadian and Alaskan fisheries from 1980-2014. However, since 2007, Nass Chum have returned on average 84% lower than the average return from 1985-2006, not met escapement goals since 2006, and are showing no sign of recovery based on recent assessment data collected. In response to this decreased abundance, Fisheries and Oceans Canada fisheries managers have reduced Canadian exploitation rates since 2007 to a mean of 3% compared to the 1980-2006 mean of 26%. However, recovery of stocks has not occurred to date and the data defining the Chum Salmon decline in the Nass Area are inadequate. Poor returns coupled with inconsistent escapement monitoring methods limit the ability to accurately assess the conservation status of Nass Area Chum stocks and inform future recovery planning.
We propose to increase escapement surveys on both indicator and non-indicator lower Nass and coastal streams and to develop a long-term, scientifically defensible, and cost-effective escapement program.
N18-I27 Chum Salmon (Oncorhynchus keta) Escapement Surveys in the Nass Area Report 2018
N17-I27 Nass Area Coastal Chum Salmon Escapement Report 2017
N16-I43 Nass Area Chum Salmon Escapement Survey Report 2016 Year 3 of 5
N15-I48 Nass Area Coastal Chum Escapement