Coho FRAM Model Validation and Mixed Stock Model (MSM) Updating

The Fishery Regulation Assessment Model (FRAM) is used by the Pacific Salmon Commission to estimate impacts of fisheries on Coho stocks and to evaluate bilateral management objectives. Improvement, validation, and updating of this model are high priority activities needed to ensure accurate estimates of fishery impacts for stocks ranging from Alaska to California. FRAM is based upon historical (catch years 1986 through 1992) coded wire tag (CWT) data to assess stock specific exploitation rates. Members of the Coho Technical Committee (CoTC) and Coho Workgroup have grown increasingly concerned about the ability of this 30-year-old base period to accurately reflect current stock distribution patterns. To re-establish confidence in the model and assure that changes in stock distribution and fishery patterns are accurately captured, contemporary assessments are urgently needed. An updated assessment of stock migratory patters is particularly relevant given concerns about changing environmental conditions.
Unfortunately, CWT recoveries have been in steep decline for the past two decades, with too few recoveries to complete full-scale coast-wide cohort reconstructions. Updating stock distribution patterns, which are modeled through the use of static base period exploitation rates, is extremely data intense and time consuming, with the current base period requiring over 10 years of development time to complete. Rather than attempting to create a brand new base period, a project that previously failed due to its large scope and sparsity of data, this project will break the tasks into smaller pieces, incorporate new insights as they become available, and develop innovative approaches to overcome previous stumbling blocks. Communication with CoTC and subject experts at every stage of the project to solicit input is a key component of this proposal.