Evaluation and Coordination of Information Useful for Predicting En-route Loss in Fraser Sockeye

The ability to both maximize harvest opportunities and achieve spawning escapement targets for Fraser sockeye requires accurate predictions of en-route loss and the associated adjustments to harvest, termed Management Adjustments (MAs). Recent extreme environmental conditions and increased variability in the MA model predictions (based solely on empirical relationships between upper and lower discrepancy estimates) have created large difficulties for managers tasked with trying to adjust harvest. This uncertainty in the in-season estimates of MAs based on model predictions has led the Fraser River Panel to consider alternative biological and environmental information to supplement their MA decision making process. However, in many cases there has been no systematic review of the additional information being provided and limited contextual data to evaluate the utility of these alternative information sources. In addition, there has not been explicit coordination amongst all of the groups contributing information to this process.

We propose to review the types of information requested by the Panel and (A) standardize the contextual information through providing historical context, (B) summarize the scientific support for the evidence, (C) coordinate efforts to ensure the most relevant data is collected and communicated to the Panel in a time-sensitive manner, (D) and develop a framework for combining these alternative sources of information with MA model outputs to better inform the overall MA process. Given recent trends and future predictions of water temperatures and flow conditions, this information will be of increased value to help manage Fraser sockeye and other salmon populations facing similar issues (e.g. Columbia & Somass sockeye; Summer-run Chinook). Our results will include an evaluation of the current information provided by groups contributing data, plus recommendations for new information.