In 2014, an exploitation rate cap on Interior Fraser River (IFR) coho in Canadian fisheries was increased from 3% to 16% in response to improved status and rebuilding of these stocks as well as fishery needs. Pre-season predicted fishery impact on IFR coho was generally determined using historic (1986-97) exploitation and coded wire tag (CWT) recovery rates scaled by current effort, which have changed over time, so current CWT recoveries do not provide a measure of fishery impact. Instead, DNA will be used to estimate the number of ‘wild’ unmarked IFR coho caught in fisheries which would provide an independent estimate of exploitation rate.
In the 2015 field season, the Pacific Salmon Commission’s Stock Monitoring Group leased an Adaptive Resolution Imaging Sonar (ARIS) system for counting fish passage and estimating behaviour and size distributions of salmon species at its hydroacoustic site on the Fraser River near Mission, B.C. The Southern Fund Committee (SFC) provided funding for this experiment, which demonstrated that the ARIS sonar was able to capture high-resolution images of fish targets allowing users to enumerate salmon passage and fish size at the site. As a new generation of imaging sonar, ARIS inherits many core technological features of the Dual-frequency identification sonar (DIDSON) while providing users with greatly enhanced and superior utilities for various needs, which will provide PSC with more accurate and precise estimates of near-shore salmon passage than the current split-beam system can ever achieve.
Sound Metrics Corporation (SMC), the parent sonar manufacturer of ARIS and DIDSON, has started to gradually phase out DIDSONs from the market. The imaging sonar systems are a very important component of the Mission hydroacosutics program, which have improved the accuracy of salmon-flux estimation in near-shore waters. Given the success of the 2015 pilot lease project noted above, the successful regional adoptions of ARIS for salmon enumeration in Alaska and Washington State, and PSC DIDSON units being beyond the manufacturer’s projected lifespan, we propose to modernize the Mission site and implement the ARIS imaging sonar into our daily estimation for the 2016 field program.
S16-I15 Assessment of Adaptive Resolution Imaging Sonar (ARIS) for Fish Counting in the Lower Fraser River
The Pacific Salmon Treaty (PST) Chum Annex requires biological benchmarks to inform the development of fishery reference points for PST related fisheries, including the lower fishery reference point for the Johnstone Strait fisheries as well as subsequent terminal fisheries. Biological benchmarks for data-limited populations have been proposed and are currently being applied to Conservation Units (CUs), or population units, of chum salmon in southern BC. The first phase of this project evaluated percentile-based benchmarks for data-limited CUs of chum salmon on the Inner South Coast of BC. Our preliminary results suggest that the 25th percentile lower benchmark is more precautionary than the stock-recruitment based lower benchmarks developed under Canada’s Wild Salmon Policy, except when CU productivity is low and historical harvest rates are high.
For 2016, we will expand our evaluation of percentile-based benchmarks to include the west coast of Vancouver Island and Fraser River, and expand our use of assessment models to include hierarchical multi-CU models. Finally, we will provide recommendations on the application of benchmarks to chum management units (through component CUs within management units) and chum salmon Genetic Units, as identified by a project funded by the PSC SEF on genetic stock identification, on the west coast of Vancouver Island and in the Fraser River within the context of the PST Chum Annex.
S16-I05 Adapting benchmarks of biological status for persistent changes in productivity and variability in exploitation history with a focus on data-limited populations of chum salmon in southern BC
S15-I13 Adapting benchmarks of biological status for persistent changes in productivity and variability in exploitation history with a focus on data-limited populations of Chum Salmon in southern BC.
The condition of juvenile salmon and their out-migration timing from Fraser River nursery lakes is likely to be an important predictor of future survival in the post-lake environment. We propose to examine several condition metrics including size, condition factor, energetic status (lipids, storage lipids), osmoregulatory preparedness, and pathogen loads among smolts leaving Chilko, Cultus, Chilliwack, and Shuswap lakes.
S14-I28 Freshwater nursery ecosystem linkages to Fraser River Sockeye smolt salmon conditon. 2014 Interim report
First we will research and introduce a standardized DNA sampling and shipping protocol unhindered by requirements for dangerous preservatives. Second, we will produce a series of internet videos demonstrating the sampling/shipping protocol in relevant settings (marine and riverine fisheries) and also explaining how the DNA results are used in management.
Hydroacoustic programs have been conducted on the Fraser River at Mission, B.C. by the International Pacific Salmon Fisheries Commission (1977-1985) and the Pacific Salmon Commission (PSC; 1986 to the present) to estimate gross upstream passage of Fraser River sockeye salmon. The estimates of daily salmon passage provided by the hydroacoustics program, combined with information from test fishery, stock identification, and catch monitoring programs are used in models to provide estimates of stock abundance, timing, and escapement that are vital to the in-season management of Fraser River Sockeye Salmon.
Following years of discrepancies between the Mission and spawning ground estimates investigations have been undertaken to determine the causes of the discrepancies between these two estimates. As part of the investigations into these discepancies DFO conducted a 5-year experimental program from 1993-1998 at Qualark Creek to design, test and perfect specialized in-river equipment and analytical protocols for riverine acoustic measurements. When Qualark was in monitoring mode in the 1990’s, the pattern of upstream passage tended to track that at Mission, but occasionally showed noticeable differences.
DFO reactivated the Qualark Hydroacoustic Site in 2008 to test the feasibility of the site for estimating salmon abundance with dual-frequency imaging sonar (DIDSON). The daily salmon flux has been estimated in-season using a DIDSON system on each bank of the river between 2008 and 2016. Assessing the performance of the Qualark program through these operational years, DFO has concluded that the site at Qualark is an excellent location for acoustic enumeration of salmon flux in the Fraser River. The site has the ideal characteristics for detecting and tracking Sockeye Salmon as they move upstream, and produces reliable in-season estimates of salmon flux.
Qualark’s sampling system includes 2 DIDSON acoustic units, deployed one on each bank of the Fraser River and operated 24 hours per day during the period of Sockeye Salmon migration. The sampling system also includes integration of catch data from the the daily test fishing operation conducted at the Qualark site on the Fraser River by the Yale First Nation. Daily salmon migration flux is derived by simple time expansion of sub-sampled salmon flux over 3 acoustic data range bins.
S17-I28 Qualark 2017 Summary Report
S16-I18A Qualark Acoustics: Estimating Daily Salmon Passage in the Fraser River Near Yale, BC Report 2016. Year 5
S15-I04A Qualark Acoustics: estimating daily salmon passage in the Fraser River near Yale, BC in 2015. Year 4
S14-I09A Qualark Acoustics: Estimating Daily Salmon Passage in the Fraser River Near Yale, BC. 2014. Year 2
S13-I15A Qualark Acoustics: Estimating Daily Salmon Passage in the Fraser River Near Yale, BC. 2013
In this project we propose to tag Harrison sockeye upon entry into the Harrison River across the entire migration period, from late July through to mid-October (the beginning of spawning ground assessments), to accurately estimate premature mortality and quantify mortality in relation to river entry timing for this system. This project will reduce the uncertainty in the relationship between Harrison sockeye migration timing past Mission and survival to spawning.
S14-I06 Estimating Premature Mortality of Harrison River Sockeye Salmon
The identification of benchmarks to establish the status of Canadian Management Units (MU’s) has been identified as a key priority of the bilateral Coho Technical Committee. LGL proposes to continue the application of the Coho Habitat Production methodology developed by Bocking and Peacock (2004) to the Lower Fraser Coho MU to develop benchmarks of status for this MU and the component Canadian Wild Salmon Policy Conservation Units (CU’s).
S14-I01 Determining Optimum Coho Smolt Production and Spawner Abundance to Establish Benchmarks for Coho Salmon Conservation Units (CU) in the Lower Fraser Management Unit 2014. Year 2
S13-I05 Determining Optimum Coho Smolt Production and Spawner Abundance to Establish Benchmarks for Coho Salmon Conservation Units (CU) in the Strait of Georgia Mainland, and Vancouver Island Management Units 2013