Development of a Robust Escapement Enumeration Strategy for Coho Salmon in the Lower Fraser Coho Management Unit

The Fraser River Stock Assessment (LFRSA) section of Fisheries and Oceans Canada has a need to develop a robust Coho salmon escapement monitoring strategy for the Lower Fraser Coho Management Unit (LFMU). Concerns over the suitability of the Coho salmon escapement record for the LFMU were highlighted by Noble et al (2015) while examining habitat-based and stockrecruit based productivity estimates, including escapement targets, for Coho Conservation Units in the South coast region of British Columbia. Noble et al (2015) determined that the LFMU escapement record was data deficient and unsuitable for stock-recruit analysis and fisheries management purposes. These concerns have been noted previously by the Pacific Salmon Treaty (PST) Coho Technical Committee. The absence of reliable escapement estimates for Coho in the LFMU is a critical information gap for bilateral Southern Boundary Coho salmon Management.

The overall objective of this proposal is to develop a robust strategy (survey design) for developing aggregate Coho salmon escapement estimates within each of the three Conservation Units (CUs) that comprise the Lower Fraser Coho Management Unit to meet the requirements of the Southern Coho Management Plan in Chapter 5 of the current PST agreement, to improve management of LFMU Coho salmon and to implement the Canadian Wild Salmon Policy.