Coded Wire Tag Program Review

Under the Pacific Salmon Treaty, fishing regimes for chinook and coho salmon are based on constraining stock, age, and fishery specific mortality rates for selected naturally spawning populations. Data to permit direct estimation of fishing mortality rates on individual populations of these species currently depend on the coded-wire tag program. Concern is now growing over the statistical reliability of this program and the ability to maintain the information expected from it.

A workshop was held on June 7-10, 2004 in Seattle, Washington to examine limitations of the CWT program and to evaluate the capacity of alternative technologies to provide data to improve assessment of chinook and coho salmon.

Workshop challenges and options:

To view the background and the function of the expert panel or view the agenda for the workshop click on the links below:

Final Report of the Expert Panel

Concerned about the ability of the coastwide Coded-wire Tag (CWT) program to continue to provide statistically reliable data to support fishery management decisions and salmon stock assessment programs, the Pacific Salmon Commission (PSC) in 2004 convened an eight member panel of scientists to examine the CWT program, consider new and emerging technologies, and provide recommendations to the PSC.

This Expert Panel held a workshop from June 7-10, 2004 to consider a number of presentations on topics relevant to its charge, discuss background papers that had been prepared for this purpose, and formulate its initial responses to the issues. Over the ensuing year, the Panel held a number of additional meetings and communicated regularly to further formulate and refine its findings and recommendations. In June, 2005, a draft of the EP’s report was submitted for scientific peer review. The Panel revised its report as it deemed appropriate in light of the peer review to produce its final report, which is now posted on the PSC website below. Additional information regarding the workshop and copies of the presentations and background documents are also available below.

Because the practical impact of the report ultimately will depend on the degree to which its findings and recommendations are accepted and implemented by the various U.S. and Canadian fishery management entities, the PSC has invited them to provide comments on the report to the PSC by December 15, 2005.

The PSC has now received comments from some of the fishery management entities and these have been posted below.  The comments will be included in an attachment when the report is formally published in hard copy form by the PSC in January 2006.

Background Paper Bibliographies and Reports:


CWT Background Papers


PowerPoint Presentations from the Workshop: