Category: Transboundary

Salmonscape Workshop: scoping a life history approach to assessing and modelling freshwater and marine bottlenecks to inform salmon management

We propose a workshop to review the current approaches to assessing and modelling salmon survival across freshwater/coastal and marine life history stages and to recommend options that will inform the host of management tools/processes that require consideration of the full life history. We will bring together experts possessing experience with these techniques to share their knowledge in a structured manner. Case studies drawn from Pacific Salmon Treaty stocks that have requisite information will be developed that can be used to test the modelling approach. A Workshop Technical Planning Team will be convened from North Pacific Anadromous Fish Commission -International Year of the Salmon partner government agencies, NGO’s and academia to ensure relevance of the work to management and to assist in identifying a complete complement of experts. Experts will include representatives from Pacific Salmon Commission Secretariat staff and Technical Committees (Chinook, Coho, Chum and Sockeye). We will support travel for experts from Asia, Canada, Europe and the U.S. to attend. It will be essential for us to incorporate approaches to understanding freshwater and marine ecosystem status with Indigenous Peoples. Additionally, we will assess the potential for the development of new and emerging technologies and citizen science to augment this work.

Taku River Coho Salmon Genetic Stock Identification Baseline Development

The continuation of developing and implementing genetic stock identification (GSI) is relevant to increase knowledge and improve management of Transboundary Area salmon stocks. In particular: Continue collaborative TTC effort to identify and fill priority genetic baseline data gaps. Over the long-term, agencies should collect genetic baseline data for Transboundary coho salmon. The Parties are committed to developing genetic stock ID baselines that can be shared and used in the cooperative management of Transboundary stocks, genetic stock identification is a high priority of the Panel as stated in the “Transboundary Panel Strategic Salmon Plan.”

GSI programs has been supported by the Northern Fund since 2008 but until now, has concentrated on obtaining tissue samples from Chinook and sockeye salmon. Once coho salmon tissue samples have been analysed, it would allow DFO and ADF&G to identify the composition of the commercial harvests by stock groupings, for run timing and exploitation rate information. As an added benefit, it has the potential to generate drainage-wide abundance estimates, if, in the future, escapement counts are obtained from headwater areas.

Tahltan River Chinook Salmon Assessment Feasibility

The primary objective of this project is to test the feasibility of obtaining a census of Chinook salmon entering the Tahltan River in the Stikine River drainage. Based on telemetry data, the Tahltan River (into which Tahltan Lake, Beatty Creek, and the Little Tahltan River drain) is the most important Chinook tributary in the Stikine River drainage, supporting up to 60% of the total annual return. The use of sonar technology in the Tahltan River would complement existing weir operations at Little Tahltan River by providing a census of all Chinook salmon entering the river. The index approach using Little Tahltan weir data to derive an escapement estimate for the Stikine River has been complicated in recent years by an apparent decrease in the contribution of Little Tahltan Chinook to the overall Stikine River Chinook escapement.

Alsek River Chinook and Sockeye Salmon Stock Assessment (US – ADFG)

The purpose of this project is to re-establish Alsek River Chinook and sockeye salmon stock assessment projects that were suspended in 2005.  Direct measures of inriver abundance are preferred for abundance-based management, however Klukshu River weir counts are currently the only measure of abundance for Alsek River Chinook and sockeye salmon.
The 2019 Pacific Salmon Treaty Bilateral Agreement directs the parties to continue to develop and implement abundance-based management programs for Alsek River Chinook and sockeye salmon. The Parties shall maintain, through the Committee, a Chinook genetic stock identification (GSI) program approved by the Parties to assist the management of Alsek River Chinook salmon.
In the spirit of this direction, the intent of this project is to reestablish Alsek River Chinook and sockeye salmon stock assessment projects and use available data from both countries to provide technical estimates of the annual inriver abundances. The capture sites on the lower Alsek River have not been visited in nearly 15 years. Year one of this study will be a pilot project to facilitate capture methods in the lower river. Mark-recapture studies, GSI run reconstruction, and telemetry project will take place in subsequent years.

Taku River – Chinook Headwater Sampling

The purpose of this project is conduct mark-recapture Event II (i.e. recapture) sampling on various Taku headwater streams, both established locations (i.e. Tatsatua Creek, Tseta Creek, Nahlin River and Dudidontu River) as well as exploratory areas (i.e. Sloko River). These sites are the major contributors of samples and tag recoveries to the estimation of drainage-wide Taku River Chinook salmon abundance. Sampling will be conducted by Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) in collaboration with the Taku River Tlingit First Nation (TRTFN) and Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G). This tag recovery and sampling is a critical element of the Event II component of the Taku River Chinook salmon mark-recapture program, provides coded-wire tag (CWT) recoveries to estimate smolt survival and marine survival (in concert with other bilateral projects), and provides data essential for forecasting and monitoring the health of Taku River Chinook salmon stocks.

The bulk of this project is tag recovery and biological sampling for Chinook salmon on Tatsatua Creek (in the vicinity of Little Tatsamenie Lake), a long standing DFO project which contributes more than 25% of the total Taku River Chinook salmon tag recoveries, and many CWT recoveries in recent years. This component has been funded by the NEF in recent years as part of a different proposal. The remainder of the project will allow DFO and TRTFN staff to fully participate with ADF&G on other Taku River Chinook headwater sampling projects at other established sampling sites which also provide a significant recovery and sampling contribution to the Taku River Chinook mark-recapture and CWT programs.

N19-I25 Taku River Watershed Chinook Salmon Headwater Sampling 2019 Report

Transboundary Rivers Otolith Thermal Mark Recovery

Enhanced sockeye salmon outplanted as part of enhancement projects in the Transboundary Rivers area have their otoliths thermally marked as fry to allow later identification to stocking origin and brood year. Transboundary Rivers (TBR) stock assessment and monitoring projects collect otoliths from both outmigrating sockeye smolts and returning sockeye adults through a variety of projects. The proposed thermal mark recovery project will fund the preparation, interpretation and analysis of these samples, which will provide critical data to stock assessment and enhancement activities; wild/enhanced ratios, scale aging validation, fry to smolt survival, smolt to adult survival, contributions of enhanced fish to returns, straying rates, etc. These data are vital elements of Transboundary stock assessment, enhancement, and fishery management programs. Data are used in enhancement planning and evaluation for multiple stocks, forecasting of returns, annual run reconstructions, and monitoring fishery management performance.

N19-I31 Transboundary Rivers Otolith Thermal Mark Recovery 2019 Report

Taku River Sockeye Salmon Telemetry

The purpose of this project is to augment the ongoing Taku Fishery Sampling and Stock Assessment in support of management as outlined in Chapter 1 of the Pacific Salmon Treaty. The Taku River sockeye salmon stock assessment project has been conducted annually since 1984 and is a cooperative effort between the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G), Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), and the Taku River Tlingit First Nation (TRTFN). The objectives of this stock assessment are to provide inseason and postseason estimates of inriver abundance and to document biological characteristics (migratory timing, migratory rates, and age, sex, and size composition) of Taku River sockeye salmon stocks. Spaghetti tagged-to-untagged ratios of salmon harvested in the Canadian inriver gillnet fisheries are used to develop mark-recapture estimates of the inriver abundance of sockeye salmon.

Taku River Sockeye Salmon Genetic Stock Identification Analysis for Commercial Samples

This proposal involves genetic analysis of tissue samples anticipated from the in-river commercial sockeye fishery on the Taku River in 2019. This activity was first supported by the Northern Fund in 2008 and makes use of the baseline samples collected with Northern Fund assistance from 2007-12.

This will identify the composition of the commercial harvest by stock groupings. In addition, when coupled with escapement counts from headwater counting fences (weirs), it will permit estimation of drainage-wide abundance for comparison with the mark-recapture estimate or other assessment methodology.

N19-I27 Taku River Sockeye Salmon Genetic Stock Identification Analysis of 2019 Commercial Samples Report

N16-I46 Taku Sockeye Genetic Stock Identification Report 2016

 

Development of Stikine River Coho Salmon Stock Assessment Options

The primary objective of this project is to test methodologies for enumerating three select components of the Stikine River coho population, specifically the Iskut River, Chutine River, and Katete River stocks.

The Pacific Salmon Treaty agreement requires development of new abundance-based management regimes for Stikine River coho salmon. A central requirement of an abundance-based management program is the development of defensible abundance estimates; ideally stock specific abundance and run timing. Besides being of value as indices, reliable abundance estimates for specific stocks have the potential to be used to estimate drainage-wide abundance using a genetic stock identification (GSI) ratiobased approach, once a Stikine River coho salmon baseline has been established.

N19-I21 Development of Stikine River Coho Salmon Stock Assessment Options 2019 Report

Stikine River Chinook Salmon Mark-Recapture Program

The enumeration of Stikine River Chinook salmon is a critical component of abundance based management mandated by the Pacific Salmon Treaty. A key element of the enumeration is ongoing mark-recapture estimation based on application of tags to returning Chinook and the recovery of these tags in in-river fisheries, at enumeration facilities, and on spawning grounds. Event I of the mark recapture is the application of tags through a scientific live capture drift net program near Kakwan Point, Alaska, on the Stikine River operated jointly by Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G), Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), and the Tahltan First Nation (TFN). This project covers a majority of Chinook salmon migration into the lower Stikine River at Kakwan, and applies spaghetti tags to as many returning fish as possible through two crews drift netting a minimum of 4 wet hours per day each day. This proposal seeks funding to support the DFO/TFN drift crew for the duration of Event I. Tag recoveries from spawning grounds are critical components of the mark-recapture project and this proposal also seeks funding to support a week of post-spawn sample collection and tag recovery field work at the Verrett River, a Stikine River indicator stock.

N19-I17 Stikine River Chinook Mark-Recapture 2019 Report