Nass Chum Salmon are a key species to benefit from better stock assessment and data acquisition. Significant harvests of Nass Chum have occurred in both Canadian and Alaskan fisheries from 1980-2014. However, since 2007, Nass Chum have returned on average 84% lower than the average return from 1985-2006, not met escapement goals since 2006, and are showing no sign of recovery based on recent assessment data collected. In response to this decreased abundance, Fisheries and Oceans Canada fisheries managers have reduced Canadian exploitation rates since 2007 to a mean of 3% compared to the 1980-2006 mean of 26%. However, recovery of stocks has not occurred to date and the data defining the Chum Salmon decline in the Nass Area are inadequate. Poor returns coupled with inconsistent escapement monitoring methods limit the ability to accurately assess the conservation status of Nass Area Chum stocks and inform future recovery planning.
We propose to increase escapement surveys on both indicator and non-indicator lower Nass and coastal streams and to develop a long-term, scientifically defensible, and cost-effective escapement program.