Category: Northern Fund

Alsek River – Chinook and Sockeye Salmon Assessment

The proposed project monitors Chinook and sockeye escapement to important Alsek River sub-drainages. It permits estimation of Chinook salmon escapement drainage-wide, and when coupled with GSI permits estimation of sockeye salmon escapement drainage-wide. It is the primary tool for identifying whether or not Klukshu and Alsek river escapement goals and fishery management targets have been achieved under Chapter 1 Paragraph 4 of the Pacific Salmon Treaty. Aspects of the project being developed in recent years have added significant diversity and strength to our understanding and management of Alsek River salmon stocks.

Juneau Area Recreational Chinook Fisheries Interim Funding

DIPAC took over raising Chinook salmon for the Juneau Area Recreational Chinook program from ADF&G in 1994 when Snettisham Salmon Hatchery was being converted to a sockeye facility, and a cooperative agreement has been in place ever since for production of Chinook around Gastineau Channel in District 111. Prior to this cooperative agreement, the State operated this recreational fisheries program since 1986. Maintaining Chinook production is an important aspect of DIPAC and ADF&G’s relationship with the Juneau fishing community by providing harvest opportunity. Although this program is intended primarily for sportfish enhancement, it provides direct and tangible benefits to local sport and commercial groups alike. The harvest of hatchery fish throughout Juneau, or specifically in Terminal Harvest Areas, at times provides the only fishing access for Chinook when there are other more restrictive management actions to protect wild stocks as has been the case in recent years with conservative management measures in place to protect the transboundary Taku River stock and the Chilkat River stock. These funds will go directly into rearing and releasing healthy Chinook smolt into Juneau waters.

Maintaining Chinook production at Crystal Lake Hatchery

Chinook salmon produced at Crystal Lake Hatchery support commercial and marine sport fisheries in District 108 and 103, along with terminal sport fisheries near the communities of Petersburg, Wrangell and Craig. Hatchery production from this facility has become increasing important in recent years as Southeast Alaska and Transboundary River stocks have experienced a persistent period of poor productivity resulting in the designation of several Stocks of Concern and subsequent harvest restrictions. These harvest restrictions were put in place to achieve escapement goals per State of Alaska policy and per Treaty obligations specified in Chapter 1 and Chapter 3 of the 2019 Treaty Agreement and have resulted in significant impacts on the coastal communities reliant on Chinook salmon. There is no doubt that this is a critically needed facility, the loss of which would be catastrophic for Southeast chinook fishers. The requested funds will support the production of 1,700,000 Chinook, maintaining releases from Crystal Lake (600,000), City Creek in Petersburg (100,000), Anita Bay (500,000), and Port Saint Nicholas (500,000).

SSSC Spawning and Incubation Facility (SPIFy)

This project will assure the efficiency of an operation that contributes pink, chum, coho and chinook salmon to commercial fishermen in the waters of Southeast Alaska. This enhancement project will put salmon into the common property fisheries of Sitka Sound. Salmon that have originated from the Sitka Sound Science Center Sheldon Jackson (SJ)Salmon Hatchery have demonstrated in recent years to be financially beneficial to the commercial fleet of Southeast Alaska. The Sitka Sound Science Center’s Spawning and Incubation Facility (SpIFy) will co-locate incubation and spawning in one area which will not only increase efficiency by utilizing existing technology to produce salmon that will return to Sitka Sound and caught by fishermen from the region, but it will also create a stronger research facility for examination of these stocks in the future.

Transboundary Rivers, Juvenile Rearing Habitat Assessment

Juvenile sockeye salmon rearing capacity for the following nursery lakes would be determined through detailed limnology sampling and the measuring of physical features at: King Salmon lake, Kuthai Lake, Little Trapper lake, Nakina Lake, Tatsamenie Lake, Trapper Lake, and Victoria Lake. By collecting these data sets, each lake can be evaluated to model juvenile rearing potential. In addition to establishing current conditions these data would also allow for a direct comparison at each lake to previous assessment results. The previous assessment results would be used to ensure repeatable sampling was conducted and that any changes to habitat are recorded.

Nass Sockeye Mark-Recapture Assessment Project

We propose to assess mark-rates of Sockeye (and tag loss) at the Kwinageese weir and include these data in the mark-recapture while simultaneously assessing spaghetti tag loss, observer efficiency, and potential selective removal of spaghetti tagged fish. This will be achieved through implementing Passive Integrated Transponder (PIT) technology alongside our traditional spaghetti tagging program.

Stikine River Chinook Salmon Telemetry

We propose radio tagging 200 large Chinook salmon during the annual stock assessment project on the Stikine River in 2022 with the primary objective to estimate the proportion of large Chinook salmon (≥ 660 mm mid eye to fork of tail (MEF)) tagged below the border that migrate past the U.S./Canada border. Additional objectives include addressing existing questions about migration, behavior and landslide passage.  To implement a telemetry project in 2022, tags and other gear must be purchased in advance, beginning in 2021.

Northern Boundary Coho Salmon Genetic Baseline Augmentation

We propose to initiate a multi-phase approach to completing the genetic baseline for Northern Boundary coho salmon (“coho”) populations. Our primary objective is to augment the current baseline so that managers can reliably estimate stock composition of coho populations susceptible to harvest in Canadian and Alaskan mixed-stock fisheries. Augmenting the number of coho populations in the SNP baseline will increase genetic resolution, allowing us to identify the populations of origin with higher precision for coho captured in mixed-stock fisheries in Canada and the U.S. When used in conjunction with abundance estimates of a specific coho population, an upgraded genetic baseline can also improve estimates of exploitation rates in mixed-stock fisheries and therefore further support informed management decisions.

Second-generation consequences of hatchery enhancement of sockeye salmon in Auke Creek, Alaska

This project is motivated by the overarching goal of understanding the effects of hatchery supplementation on the long-term fitness of sockeye salmon in the transboundary region subject to enhancement under the Pacific Salmon Treaty. The immediate goal is to optimize and test a new method to quickly and efficiently genotype large numbers of sockeye salmon for comprehensive parentage assignment, in order to quantify the second-generation effects of hatchery supplementation on fitness in the wild population. This project is to be performed at Auke Creek, Juneau, Alaska where a permanent weir offers unmatched sampling opportunities.

Improving CTC efficiency by coordinating reports and facilitating meetings and communications, pilot study

In 2020, the Commissioners at the Pacific Salmon Commission (PSC) approved a one-year pilot to hire a Chinook Technical Committee (CTC) Coordinator staffed by the Secretariat to provide this support. This position is a pilot project to assess the capacity of the PSC Secretariat to improve CTC related communication and help the CTC achieve their annual work plan as well as achieve additional tasks as required.

This proposal seeks funding for a second year of the pilot project in order to fully evaluate the long-term need for a Coordinator to support the work of the CTC. If the project is successful, the Commission recognizes that long-term funding of PSC Secretariat personnel would be its responsibility.