Last updated on 22 August 2016

SUMMARY

SUMMARY

IDENTIFICATION

SCIENTIFIC NAME(s)

Oncorhynchus tshawytscha

SPECIES NAME(s)

Chinook salmon, King Salmon

COMMON NAMES

Chinook salmon, king salmon


ANALYSIS

Strengths

1. Serious conservation measures, including regulatory listings, have been undertaken by managers over the last 15 years in the effort to recover weak stocks. 2. The fish ticket system accurately monitors fishery harvest. 3. Systematic genetic sampling of catches began in 2010 and continues to be expanded.

Weaknesses

1. Escapements continue to decline despite recovery measures, hitting critically low levels in some areas. 2. Habitat alterations, dams, and hatchery operations are widely recognized as major contributors to the continuing decline of salmon in the region. 3. Coded Wire Tagging data has declined, rendering it difficult to distinguish between hatchery and wild fish. 4. The fishery, particularly in California, is overly reliant on hatchery fish.

FISHSOURCE SCORES

Management Quality:

Management Strategy:

7

Managers Compliance:

8

Fishers Compliance:

8

Stock Health:

Current
Health:

5

Future Health:

5


RECOMMENDATIONS

CATCHERS & REGULATORS

1. Start a fishery improvement project to address sustainability issues in this fishery. For advice on starting a FIP, see SFP’s Seafood Industry Guide to FIPs.
2. Communicate to fishery managers that there are sustainability issues in this fishery that may be affecting the sale of products, and request that they comprehensively evaluate and address such issues.

RETAILERS & SUPPLY CHAIN

1. Encourage your supply chain to start a fishery improvement project. For advice on starting a FIP see SFP’s Seafood Industry Guide to FIPs.
2. Work with other suppliers and buyers on a pre-competitive basis to start a supplier roundtable to review improvement needs in this and other similar fisheries, catalyze fishery improvement projects, and monitor progress in improvement efforts.


FIPS

No related FIPs

CERTIFICATIONS

No related MSC fisheries

Fisheries

Within FishSource, the term "fishery" is used to indicate each unique combination of a flag country with a fishing gear, operating within a particular management unit, upon a resource. That resource may have a known biological stock structure and/or may be assessed at another level for practical or jurisdictional reasons. A fishery is the finest scale of resolution captured in FishSource profiles, as it is generally the scale at which sustainability can most fairly and practically be evaluated.

DISTRICT MANAGEMENT UNIT FLAG COUNTRY FISHING GEAR
California California/PFMC United States Trolling lines
Oregon Oregon/PFMC/PSC United States Trolling lines
Washington Washington/PFMC/PSC United States Trolling lines

Analysis

OVERVIEW

Last updated on 13 March 2014

Strengths

1. Serious conservation measures, including regulatory listings, have been undertaken by managers over the last 15 years in the effort to recover weak stocks. 2. The fish ticket system accurately monitors fishery harvest. 3. Systematic genetic sampling of catches began in 2010 and continues to be expanded.

Weaknesses

1. Escapements continue to decline despite recovery measures, hitting critically low levels in some areas. 2. Habitat alterations, dams, and hatchery operations are widely recognized as major contributors to the continuing decline of salmon in the region. 3. Coded Wire Tagging data has declined, rendering it difficult to distinguish between hatchery and wild fish. 4. The fishery, particularly in California, is overly reliant on hatchery fish.

RECOMMENDATIONS

Last updated on 22 August 2016

Improvement Recommendations to Catchers & Regulators

1. Start a fishery improvement project to address sustainability issues in this fishery. For advice on starting a FIP, see SFP’s Seafood Industry Guide to FIPs.
2. Communicate to fishery managers that there are sustainability issues in this fishery that may be affecting the sale of products, and request that they comprehensively evaluate and address such issues.

Recommendations to Retailers & Supply Chain

1. Encourage your supply chain to start a fishery improvement project. For advice on starting a FIP see SFP’s Seafood Industry Guide to FIPs.
2. Work with other suppliers and buyers on a pre-competitive basis to start a supplier roundtable to review improvement needs in this and other similar fisheries, catalyze fishery improvement projects, and monitor progress in improvement efforts.

1.STOCK STATUS

STOCK ASSESSMENT

Last updated on 4 October 2011

Since 1977, the salmon fisheries off the coast of Washington, Oregon, and California have been managed under the Pacific Coast Salmon Fishery Management Plan of the Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC) (PFMC 2012b), created by the Magnuson-Stevens Act of 1976 and reauthorized in 2007. The main goal of the PFMC is to manage all fisheries in both fresh and marine waters to achieve a level of adult spawner escapement associated with the maximum sustainable yield for salmon stocks under its management control. A number of biological reference points are used to guide and facilitate this process. However, escapement goals are not always biologically based, and many goals currently in place for stocks that are under the purview of the Pacific Salmon Commission (PSC) have not been reviewed and approved by this body (CTC 2013).

Escapements are measured for most of the major stocks in the fishery. There are persistent difficulties in counting escapements for California coastal Chinook salmon systems, and the Klamath River is used as a surrogate for assessing fishery impacts on this Endangered Species Act (ESA)-listed stock (O’Farrell et al. 2012).

Genetic stock identification programs continue to be developed and expanded to estimate the stock composition of commercial catches off of the Pacific west coast (PFMC 2012a). As part of the Genetic Analysis of Pacific Salmonids (GAPS) project, 13 microsatellite loci have been identified that can be reproducibly assayed in genetic laboratories, resulting in 110 identifiable Chinook salmon populations coastwide (Seeb et al. 2007). Systematic genetic sampling of catches effectively began in 2010 (data were not collected in 2008 and 2009 due to widespread fishery closures off of Oregon and California) (PFMC 2012a). Meanwhile, coded-wire tagging programs continue to provide stock composition estimates for all coastwise fisheries (PFMC 2008b; Nandor 2010).

SCIENTIFIC ADVICE

Last updated on 13 March 2014

Management recommendations made by the PFMC (PFMC 2013a and 2013b) are guided by objectives of the council’s Pacific Coast Management Plan (Salmon FMP), but also defer to obligations of the Pacific Salmon Treaty (PST) (PST 2013) and protections required under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) (see “Recovery Plan” section below).A main task of the PFMC is to set annual allowable catch limits forKlamath River fall and Sacramento River fall Chinook salmon, each of which is an indicator stock representing one of the two southern stock complexes (PFMC 2012b). The determination of the Klamath River Fall Chinook salmon target catch in 2012 provides an example of how this is done (see PFMC 2013a). The total ocean abundance of age 3, 4, and 5 Chinook salmon was estimated to be slightly over 1.65 million salmon for that year, yielding an expected 270,000 returning spawners, which exceeds the abundance required to open the fishery. There is a minimum escapement goal of 40,700 adult salmon in place for the run. Meanwhile, the target exploitation rate is 0.68, resulting in a target escapement of 270,000 x (1-0.68) or about 86,400 adult Chinook salmon. Thus fisheries impacting Klamath River Fall Chinook salmon were managed to achieve this escapement number. Failure to come within 10% of this goal would result in characterization of the stock as overfished.

Management guidelines are discussed and evaluated by three entities: the PFMC’s “Council” and advisory bodies and the PSC’s Chinook Technical Committee (CTC). The PFMC’s Scientific Technical Team (STT) and Model Evaluation Workgroup (MEW) are advisory bodies that provide analytical and management expertise to voting members of the Council when evaluating proposed management measures and assessing the effect of these measures on past fisheries (PFMC 2014). Two models are used in these assessments: the Fishery Regulatory Assessment Model and the Klamath Harvest Rate Model (PFMC 2008a and 2008b, Prager and Mohr 2001; Mohr 1997). Meanwhile, the CTC evaluates the status of Chinook salmon stocks from Cape Falcon, Oregon, to Alaska and the impact that proposed fishery regimes will have on these stocks (PST 2013). The Chinook Model is the analytical tool developed for this work (CTC 2012).

Although the timing and distribution of stocks or stock complexes in the various fisheries are well understood (Myers et al. 1998; Williams et al. 2011), appropriate escapement goals and optimum production levels remain to be determined.The Klamath and Sacramento fall Chinook salmon escapement goals are simply a base-year average escapement.Meanwhile, depleted stocks located between the Canada border and Cape Falcon, Oregon, are managed under a PST goal established in 1999 to reduce exploitation rates to 60% of base period (1978-1982) rates (PST 2013). The PSC is the entity charged with implementing PST provisions and monitoring the status of PST stocks. Many of these Washington and Oregon stocks do not have escapement goals that have been reviewed and approved by the PSC (CTC 2013).Uncertainty in hatchery production and the accuracy of natural stock escapement estimatesare challenges to the process of establishing appropriate escapement goals.

Reference Points

Last updated on 13 Mar 2014

There have been substantial decreases in escapements for some key Chinook salmon stocks or stock groups since 1998 (Figures 1-3). In fact, the escapements for nine stocks are weak enough to have merited listing as either threatened or endangered under ESA guidelines (PFMC 2012b). These stocks include California coastal, Sacramento River Central Valley spring-run, Lower Columbia River Natural Tule stock, Upper Columbia River spring-run, Puget Sound stocks, Sacramento River winter-run, Snake River fall-run, Snake River spring/ summer-run, and Upper Willamette River Chinook salmon stocks.

Even key index stocks that are not listed, such as the Sacramento River Fall Chinook run failed to meet the minimum escapement goal from 2007 – 2009 and 2011 (PFMC 2013c). We assessed escapement trends of stocks and stock groups using the robust regression analysis methods of Gieger and Zhang (2002). Sacramento/ San Juaquin stock complex has been declining at a rate of 6.4% per year (Figure 1). The Klamath River Fall Chinook run has been declining at 3% per year, although a strong return in 2012 helps mitigate this decline (Figure 2). The threatened Puget Sound stock group as a whole is declining at 4.7% per year (Figure 3) with some drainages exceeding 6% per year (not shown; results are based on CTC escapement data (CTC 2013)). The Green River (6.5%) and Nooksack River (7.2%) show the largest declines.


Figure 1: Total escapement of Sacramento/San Joaquin River Chinook salmon (all runs combined), 1998–2012 (PFMC 2013c; CDFW 2013). A Geiger and Zhang robust regression (Geiger and Zhang 2002) is superimposed on the data set.


Figure 2: Total escapement of Klamath River Fall Chinook salmon, 1998–2012 (KRTT 2013). A Geiger and Zhang robust regression (Geiger and Zhang 2002) is superimposed on the data set.


Figure 3: Total escapement of Puget Sound Chinook salmon, 1998–2012 (CTC 2013). A Geiger and Zhang robust regression (Geiger and Zhang 2002) is superimposed on the data set.

CURRENT STATUS

Last updated on 4 October 2011

Stock status for salmon is assessed based on multi-year escapement trends and performance against escapement goals (see synopsis under reference point section). There are a number ESA listed stocks impacted by the fishery.  See "Recovery Plan" section for more detail.

Trends

Last updated on 04 Oct 2011

There has been a precipitous decrease in total troll Chinook salmon catches since 2006, and these decreases are concurrent with decreases in escapements and the failure of a number of stocks to meet escapement goals. The 1998–2005 catches averaged about 638,000 Chinook salmon while the 2006–2012 catches averaged 153,000 fish, or less than 25% of the earlier catches (Figure 6).


Figure 6: Total (hatchery and wild) Chinook salmon troll catch by PFMC management area, 1998–2012. Data are from Appendix A of PFMC Stock Assessment and Fishery Evaluation documents (PFMC 2006 and 2013c).

Decreases in catch of natural-stock Chinook salmon areeven greater, with the average 2006–2012 catch amounting to only 16% of the 1998–2005 average catch (Figure 7).


Figure 7: Wild Chinook salmon troll catch by PFMC management area, 1998–2012. Catch of natural stocks was calculated as the difference between total commercial catches (data from Appendix A in PFMC 2006 and 2013c) and hatchery catches (RMPC 2013).

Decreases in catches from the management areas south of Cape Falcon averaged over 5% per year, or a total of 80% decrease in catch over the last 15 years. Meanwhile, the Chinook salmon catches from the management area between Cape Falcon and US/Canada border has increased slightly over the 15 years, averaging 3.2% increasing trend over these years.

2.MANAGEMENT QUALITY

MANAGEMENT

Last updated on 4 October 2011

Annual control limits adopted by the PFMC are predicated on various conservation and management priorities (PFMC 2012b). Preseason forecasts of ocean abundance of major Chinook salmon stocks are used to estimate the total allowable catch for major stock groups, which will result in a maximum sustained yield level of escapement for these stocks.Superimposed on this are ESA recovery considerations and allocation requirements. In addition, non-ESA-listed Chinook stocks from the mid-Oregon coast to the US/Canada border are subject annual limits prescribed by the PST.

In recent years, the most constraining ESA-related objective has been a 16% harvest rate limit on Klamath River fall Chinook age-4 salmon (PFMC 2013a). To achieve this objective while providing for harvest opportunities on stocks not associated with ESA mandates, PFMC formulates a set of management directives that are set in place each year. These measures include size limits, seasons, trip limits, weekly effort limits, and quotas (PFMC 2012b).The impact of these management regimes on stock specific harvest rates and escapements is assessed through fishery modeled preseason and postseason analysis using coded-wire tags, escapements, and catches (KRTT 2013). Between 2001 and 2012, the 16% harvest rate limit on Klamath River fall Chinook age-4 salmon was exceeded 4 times: 2003 (21%), 2004(35%), 2005(20%), and 2007(21%).

The PST objectives have been met with mixed success. The PSC administers the directives of the PST through catch quotas that are intended to either allow enough escapement through the fisheries to achieve escapement goals or result in a 40% reduction from the 1978-1982 base period exploitation rates.Annual overall harvest quotas in effect for stocks harvested between Cape Falcon and the US-Canada border were exceeded only once between 1998 and 2012, and cumulative catches were below cumulative limits.However, the 40% reduction in base period exploitation rates applicable to certain Individual Stock-Based Management (ISBM) populations (PST 2013) was exceeded 45% of the time during the same time period.

Success in achieving escapement goals has also been inconsistent. See “Recovery Plans” below for further relevant information.

Recovery Plans

Last updated on 04 Oct 2011

Failure to meet management objectives is a persistent and ongoing problem in this fishery. This is reflected in the current ESA listing of nine included stocks as either threatened or endangered.

Management objectives determined by PFMC, PSC, or ESA are expressed in terms of escapement goals, target harvest rates, or reduction in harvest rates from a base period average. The success in achieving escapement goals has been inconsistent.The minimum escapement goal for the Sacramento River Fall Chinook salmon is 122,000 natural and hatchery fish. Escapements in the years 2007–2009 and 2011 were below this goal. Meanwhile, the escapement goal for the Klamath River of 35,000 Chinook salmon (increased to 40,700 in 2012) was not met in 1999, 2004-2006, and 2008. Escapements of Puget Sound Chinook salmon stocks are also habitually less than management goals. For example, since 1998, Nooksack Spring stock only achieved its escapement goal in 2002, Skagit Spring stock in 2012, and Lake Washington stock in 2007 and 2012 (CTC 2013).

As explained above, the ESA-mandated 16% harvest rate on Klamath age 4 fish has been exceed fur times during the last decade.

Meanwhile, the PSC’s manded for 40% reduction in base period exploitation rates on Individual Stock-Based Management populations is exceeded 45% of the time.

Therefore, the ability of management to achieve management objectives for depleted stocks is inconsistent at best.

COMPLIANCE

Last updated on 4 October 2011

There is minimal to no illegal fishing by the commercial troll fishery.

HATCHERY IMPACTS

Hatcheries comprise a large percent of the commercial troll catch and the ability to identify hatchery fish in the Chinook salmon harvest is seriously compromised by the large numbers of hatchery releases that are not represented by a coded-wire tag (CWT) (EPFCWTP 2005). Currently about 40% of hatchery releases are untagged, with the largest number of untagged releases originating from Washington State (Figure 4).

The number of hatchery Chinook salmon released from area hatcheries has decreased from about 268 million juveniles to 197 million fish over the last 20 years (Figure 4). Despite this small decrease in hatchery production, the concurrent failure of many wild stocks on the west coast has resulted in the increase in hatchery composition of commercial troll catches. The percent composition of hatchery fish in catches from all management areas, except the Cape Falcon to US/Canadian border (which was high to begin with) has increased over the last 15 years from an average of around 20% to 60% (Figure 5).


Figure 4: Total release of hatchery fish and percent of these releases represented by coded-wire tagged fish. Releases are from Washington, Oregon, California, and Idaho. Data are from RMPC database (RMPC 2013).


Figure 5: Estimated hatchery composition of catches from PFMC management areas. Hatchery composition is estimated by expanding coded-wire tagged fish over untagged fish from tagged and untagged releases. Data are from RMPC database (RMPC 2013).

Coded wire tags and selective fisheries

Coded-wire tag (CWT) technology provides the means to estimate the hatchery component of ocean catches both inseason and postseason. Genetic stock identification (GSI) may provide for differentiation of both wild and hatchery stocks in the future, but currently cannot differentiate wild and hatchery fish from the same stock, nor allocate catches to brood years without associated scale analysis (PSC 2008). Estimates of the hatchery composition of ocean catches using CWTS relies on several factors, including adequate sampling of catches, representation of all hatchery release groups by a tagged subgroup, and maintenance of consistent tag to untagged ratios. Unfortunately, the implementation of mark selective fisheries may compromise the ability to estimate the hatchery component of catches, and could jeopardize the use of coded-wire tags for coastwide management of Chinook and coho salmon stocks (EPFCWTP 2005).

The term “selective fisheries” generally refers to recreational salmon fisheries in the Pacific Northwest with regulations in place that require fishermen to release wild fish and retain only hatchery fish. A visual means of differentiating between wild and hatchery fish is necessary for this fishery to be promulgated. Adipose fin removal is the preferred method. Mass marking of Chinook salmon for the implementation of selective fisheries began in 1998 with the removal of the adipose fin of Puget Sound and Columbia River spring Chinook salmon stocks (CTC 2012).

Although assessments of the impacts of differential harvesting of marked and unmarked fish are just beginning (see Conrad et al. 2013), sport fisheries targeting these marked fish have continued to expand. Since 2010 all marine sport fish management areas in Puget Sound have had selective fisheries for at least some portion of the year; and in some areas, over 90% of the sport fishery catch occurs in mark-selective fisheries. This is resulting in variability in tagged-untagged ratios, increasing uncertainty in estimates of exploitation rates, and increasing catch and release mortalities of unmarked fish. In some cases (i.e. Willamette spring Chinook salmon), over half of the marked coded-wire tagged fish are harvested in the mark-selective fishery. Reductions in the clipped-unclipped ratios of escapements, compared to the ratio at release, are significant for Puget Sound stocks since the 2001 brood year, the first brood year that all ages were exposed to mark-selective fisheries. These statistics indicate that selective fisheries are having a substantial and at times unquantifiable impact on wild stocks and the coded-wire tagging program.

The likely expansion of the mark-selective fisheries to commercial troll fishing in ocean waters (as has already happened with coho salmon) will seriously jeopardize the use of coded-wire tags in management of west coast fisheries. The quality of coded wire tag data is declining coast-wide due to changes in exploitation rates and reallocation of catch quotas, and also due to mass marking for and implementation of selective fisheries (EPFCWTP 2005).

Overreliance on hatcheries

The influence of hatchery-produced Chinook salmon on management in the more southern management areas is substantial. As wild-stock production continues to decline, the percent of commercial catch comprised of hatchery Chinook salmon continues to increase. In fact, the majority of naturally spawning Sacramento River Fall Chinook salmon are believed to be of hatchery origin, and production from the Sacramento River is wholly dependent on hatchery releases. The detrimental impact of this reliance on hatchery production is believed to be responsible for the disastrous returns to the Sacramento River in 2007, 2008 and 2009 (Lindley et al. 2009). Adverse marine conditions, the hatchery practice of releasing juvenile fish over a limited interval of time, and lack of diversity in wild salmon production resulted in the majority of outmigrating juveniles encountering low survival conditions. Lindley et al. (2009) recommend increasing the variation in timing of out-migration and age at maturity of hatchery releases and continue efforts to increase the quantity and diversity of spawning and rearing habitats for natural Chinook salmon.

The northern area fisheries which predominantly target stocks located north of Cape Falcon are somewhat less reliant on hatcheres, with the contribution of hatcheres to the commercial troll catch in this area averageing over 50%. Although management goals focus on achieving reductions in exploitation rates on wild stocks not meeting escapement goals and reducing impacts on ESA-listed populations, catch quotas from this area remain consistent even though some natural stocks are declining precipitously. The large number of hatchery fish not represented by a coded-wire tag (56% of Washington Chinook salmon hatchery releases) and the implementation of mark selective fisheries also add uncertainty to management assessments.

Hatchery reform

Implication of hatchery practices in wild stock declines spurred US Congress to establish the Hatchery Scientific Review Group in 2000 (http://www.hatcheryreform.us/hrp/welcome_show.action), an independent scientific panel that has conducted comprehensive reviews of over 400 hatchery programs in Washington, the Columbia River Basin, and California. This work generated many program-specific recommendations, including the following general recommendations for Pacific Northwest hatchery programs:

1. develop clear, specific, quantifiable harvest and conservation goals for natural and hatchery populations within an “All H” (Hatcheries, Habitat, Harvest, Hydro) context;

2. design and operate hatchery programs in a scientifically defensible manner; and

3. monitor, evaluate and adaptively manage hatchery programs.

3.ENVIRONMENT AND BIODIVERSITY

BYCATCH
ETP Species

Last updated on 4 October 2011

Under the Magnuson-Stevens Act, incidental mortality in commercial fisheries constitutes bycatch mortality. The PFMC assumes a hook-and-release mortality rate of 26 percent in commercial salmon troll fisheries coastwise (PFMC 2013b). Salmon species other than Chinook and coho are not adversely impacted in the fishery. Chinook intercepted in ocean troll fisheries are regulated by time/area closures, specific quota regulation per opening, a minimim size limit, barbless hooks and non-retention of unmarked (natural) Chinook harvest. The Chinook bycatch mortality is accounted for in post-season performance assessment that affects future regulatory actions to conserve Chinook stocks of regulatory concern.

Bycatch mortality is not implicated in the failure of other species of regulatory concern.

Other Species

Last updated on 4 October 2011

Substantial harvest of coho salmon occurs in ocean troll fisheries along with Chinook salmon. Pink salmon are also intercepted particularly in odd-numbered years in Washington State.

HABITAT

Last updated on 4 October 2011

The overriding conflict between salmon and habitat usage relates to the need for water, and salmon continue to lose this battle in the Pacific Northwest. Current “battlegrounds” pitting salmon conservationists against development interests include Shasta Dam water release decisions, the Sacramento River Bay Delta Conservation Plan, the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement, and the Federal Salmon Plan for the Columbia River Basin. 

Salmon habitat conservation interests have lost out to proponents of development and agriculture in several recent, prominent instances. In November, 2013, the Shasta Dam reduced the water release by 37%, resulting in many areas of Chinook salmon egg deposition going dry. The incidence was one in a continuing pattern of watershed protection statutes being ignored and water quality standards being violated (Daily Kos 2013).

Of greater concern for the Sacramento River is the Bay Delta Conservation Plan. Over the objections of many environmental and conservations groups, California and the federal government continue to construct two giant tunnels which would divert water away from the Sacramento River delta to farms and cities in southern California. These pipes could conceivably divert the entire flow of water from the Sacramento River during the dry season (KCET 2013).

To the north, Oregon; California; federal agencies; the Klamath, Karuk, and Yurok tribes; Klamath Project Water Users, and other Klamath River Basin stakeholders have negotiated the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement (KBRA) and the Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement (KHSA) to resolve long-standing disputes between them regarding a broad range of natural resource issues in the Klamath River basin (DOI 2012). The agreements are intended to restore and sustain natural fish production and establish reliable water and power supplies for agriculture, user communities, and National Wildlife Refuges. However, many conservation groups believe that the agreements may be detrimental to salmon populations due to increased water guarantees to irrigators, no commitment to dam removal (only feasibility and impacts study), predicted river flows below those currently required under ESA guidelines, and uncertainties in providing water to lower drainages in dry years (Oregon Wild 2011).

The upper reaches of the Columbia River also are characterized with similar conflicts. The Federal Salmon Plan, which governs the actions of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Bureau of Reclamation, and the Bonneville Power Administration, was released in 2010 by National Marine Fisheries Service. The plan was rejected by the courts because it relied on unidentified and uncertain habitat enhancement measures throughout the basin to make up for the harm caused by dams (Oregonian 2011). The presiding federal judge also noted that Federal agencies have not implemented the projects they said they would and implemented projects have not roduced the promised survival benefits.

There is overwhelming scientific support for lower Snake River dam removal, which is considered the safest and surest way to achieve recovery of Snake River Chinook salmon populations. Scientists and conservation groups have urged Federal Agencies to include a contingency plan for lower Snake River dam removal in the event that other recovery measures fail. However, the current salmon plan employs a confusing system of triggers and responses that would delay any study of this type until salmon populations have reached dangerously low numbers. In fact, three out of four of the last salmon plans have been found legally insufficient to protect salmon and thereby rejected by courts. The NOAA fisheries service contends that amended plan actions outlined in a new biological opinion issued in January 2014 are sufficient to address concerns that promoted the federal court to remand earlier biological opinions (CBB 2014). However, it appears changes reflected in the new plan are minor, and the agency lauded the latest opinion primarily for validating the efficacy of already existing mitigation measures. Conservation groups view the latest plan as status quo at best, and a step backwards based on the level of water release required by dams (Northwest Sportsman 2014).

 

FishSource Scores

SELECT SCORES

MANAGEMENT QUALITY

Click on the score to see subscores

As calculated for 2013 data.

The score is 8.0.

Management guidelines are discussed and evaluated by three separate groups: the Scientific Technical Team and Model Evaluation Workgroup, the Pacific Fishery Management Council, and the Pacific Salmon Commission's Chinook Technical Committee. While the guideline-setting process is transparent and subject to scientific oversight, appropriate escapement goals and optimum production levels remain to be determined in many areas of Oregon and Washington.

Click on the score to see subscores

×

Management Responsiveness Subscores

Different components of this salmon region score differently at the fishery level. Please look at the individual fisheries using the selection drop down above.

As calculated for 2013 data.

The score is 7.0.

Management relies on preseason forecasts of ocean abundance of major Chinook salmon stocks to estimate the total allowable catch. The Pacific Salmon Commission sets quotas that ensure that exploitation rates on depleted stocks north of Cape Falcon, Oregon, are reduced by 40% of the base period (1978-1982) rate. These quotas are being adhered to.

Different components of this salmon region score differently at the fishery level. Please look at the individual fisheries using the selection drop down above.

As calculated for 2013 data.

The score is 7.0.

There are efforts underway to recover several stocks in the fishery, but escapement goals have not been consistently met, nor have Endangered Species Act guidelines for individual stock exploitation rates been adhered to.

Different components of this salmon region score differently at the fishery level. Please look at the individual fisheries using the selection drop down above.

As calculated for 2013 data.

The score is 7.0.

Dams and diversion of water for irrigation are reducing flows in Pacific Northwest salmon-bearing streams, and are directly linked with continuing declines in Chinook wild salmon returns.

×

Adequacy of Data Subscores

Different components of this salmon region score differently at the fishery level. Please look at the individual fisheries using the selection drop down above.

As calculated for 2013 data.

The score is 10.0.

There is minimal to no illegal fishing by the commercial troll fishery.

Different components of this salmon region score differently at the fishery level. Please look at the individual fisheries using the selection drop down above.

As calculated for 2013 data.

The score is 8.0.

Virtually 100% of the harvest is recorded through a fish ticket system. Systematic genetic sampling of began in 2010. Meanwhile, coded-wire tagging programs continue to provide stock composition estimates.

Different components of this salmon region score differently at the fishery level. Please look at the individual fisheries using the selection drop down above.

As calculated for 2013 data.

The score is 8.0.

Escapements are measured for most of the major stocks in the fishery. However, there are still difficulties in counting escapements for California coastal Chinook salmon systems.

STOCK HEALTH:

Click on the score to see subscores

Click on the score to see subscores

×

Stock Status Subscores

Different components of this salmon region score differently at the fishery level. Please look at the individual fisheries using the selection drop down above.

As calculated for 2013 data.

The score is 5.0.

There have been substantial decreases in escapements for some key Chinook salmon stocks or stock groups since 1998. Notable declining stocks include the Puget Sound stock (4.7% per year annual declines), the Green River stock (6.5%) and the Nooksack River stock (7.2%).

Different components of this salmon region score differently at the fishery level. Please look at the individual fisheries using the selection drop down above.

As calculated for 2013 data.

The score is 5.0.

There has been a precipitous decrease in total troll Chinook salmon catches since 2006 and these decreases are concurrent with decreases in escapements and the failure of a number of stocks to meet escapement goals. There has been some recovery since 2010, but not to pre-decline levels.

×

Hatchery Impacts Subscores

Different components of this salmon region score differently at the fishery level. Please look at the individual fisheries using the selection drop down above.

As calculated for 2013 data.

The score is 7.0.

Coded-wire tag (CWT) technology currently provides the means to estimate the hatchery component of ocean catches, but the quality of CWT data is declining year by year.

Different components of this salmon region score differently at the fishery level. Please look at the individual fisheries using the selection drop down above.

As calculated for 2013 data.

The score is 5.0.

The California component of the fishery is highly reliant on hatchery fish. The hatchery practice of releasing juvenile fish over a limited interval of time likely contributed to low survival conditions in 2007–2009 and disastrous Chinook salmon returns.

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DATA NOTES

Scores appearing at the region level reflect the range of scores for the district profiles in the region for each of the five FishSource scoring criteria.  District profiles are scored according to the complete FishSource salmon scoring method, which can be downloaded here. A summary of the method’s scoring criteria for district profiles follows below (for the troll fishery components in California, Oregon, and Washington districts, scroll further to see a slightly modified set of criteria applied to mixture pool fisheries).

The FishSource sustainability criteria as applied to salmon: Criterion 1. Management Responsiveness (Is the management strategy precautionary?) 1.1 Over the last decade, has fisheries management exhibited in-season responsiveness to stock status? 1.2 Has fisheries management responded appropriately over the last 15 years when/if the stock has failed to meet management objectives and/or maintain yields? 1.3 Has management exhibited responsiveness to concerns regarding the conservation and restoration of the stock’s essential freshwater, estuarine and coastal habitats during the last ten years? Criterion 2. Management Guidelines (Do the managers follow scientific advice?) Have appropriate escapement goals or operational equivalents been developed and implemented for the fishery’s wild stocks? Criterion 3. Adequacy of Data (Do fishers comply?) 3.1 Is a portion of harvest attributable to illegal, unreported, or unregulated fishing, resulting in official harvest data that is lower than the actual catch? 3.2 Is the fishery’s harvest adequately and accurately measured and reported? 3.3 Has escapement been adequately and accurately measured and publicly reported? Criterion 4. Stock Status (Is the fish stock healthy?) 4.1 Have escapement measures for the fishery’s wild stocks been maintained above escapement goals or thresholds, or have harvest rates been below the target harvest rates? 4.2 Has the catch trend been level or increasing over a 15-year period? Criterion 5. Are hatcheries or other enhancement activities negatively affecting wild stocks? (Will the fish stock be healthy in the future?) 5.0 Do hatcheries account for 10% or less of the fishery’s total production, or are hatchery-produced fish not in substantial contact with wild salmon? If “no,” then the following sub-criteria are analyzed: 5.1 Are managers able to manage for the (wild) stocks in a fishery that also contains hatchery stocks of salmon? 5.2 Is there a low quantity of hatchery strays in the escapement throughout the freshwater habitat of the wild stock, and is hatchery straying quantified by means of a technically sound data collection and analysis? 5.3 Over the past 10 years, have hatchery strays, hatchery out-plants, or any returning hatchery-produced fish been intentionally allowed to mix with the wild stock during spawning? 5.4 Are there active and effective policies that (1) establish objectives for the conservation of wild salmon, (2) put into place operational systems that limit hatchery impacts on wild stocks, (3) grant sufficient oversight and authority over individual hatchery programs to management agencies, and (4) establish a hatchery evaluation system that monitors the performance of individual hatcheries against wild salmon conservation objectives?

California/PFMC

This is a mixutre pool management fishery (preseason-managed, occurring in the open ocean); a slightly modified version of the FishSource salmon fishery sustainability criteria is applied to mixture pool fisheries: Criterion 1. Management Responsiveness (Is the management strategy precautionary?) 1.1 Over the last decade, has fisheries management exhibited in-season responsiveness to stock status? 1.2 Has fisheries management maintained catch consistently below the catch limit, if there is one, during the last 15 years? 1.3 Has fisheries management responded appropriately over the last 15 years when/if the stock has failed to meet management objectives and/or maintain yields? 1.4 Has management exhibited responsiveness to concerns regarding the conservation and restoration of the stock’s essential freshwater, estuarine and coastal habitats during the last ten years? Criterion 2. Management Guidelines (Do the managers follow scientific advice?) Are the management guidelines (i.e. catch limits) appropriate and subject to scientific oversight? Criterion 3. Adequacy of Data (Do fishers comply?) 3.1 Is a portion of harvest attributable to illegal, unreported, or unregulated fishing, resulting in official harvest data that is lower than the actual catch? 3.2 Is the fishery’s harvest adequately and accurately measured and reported? 3.3 Have stock identification efforts been undertaken to determine the fishery’s stock composition? 3.4 Is escapement measured in a substantial and well-distributed quantity of stocks harvested by the fishery? Criterion 4. Stock Status (Is the fish stock healthy?) 4.1 Have escapement trends of the fishery’s stock aggregate been level or increasing over the last 15 years? 4.2 Has the catch trend been level or increasing over a 15-year period? Criterion 5. Are hatcheries or other enhancement activities negatively affecting wild stocks? (Will the fish stock be healthy in the future?) 5.0 Do hatcheries account for 10% or less of the fishery’s total production, or are hatchery-produced fish not in substantial contact with wild salmon? If “no,” then the following sub-criteria are analyzed: 5.1 Are managers able to identify and quantify hatchery fish in the mixed-stock aggregate? 5.2 Does hatchery abundance overly influence the determination of the fishery’s catch limit?

Oregon/PFMC/PSC

This is a mixutre pool management fishery (preseason-managed, occurring in the open ocean); a slightly modified version of the FishSource salmon fishery sustainability criteria is applied to mixture pool fisheries: Criterion 1. Management Responsiveness (Is the management strategy precautionary?) 1.1 Over the last decade, has fisheries management exhibited in-season responsiveness to stock status? 1.2 Has fisheries management maintained catch consistently below the catch limit, if there is one, during the last 15 years? 1.3 Has fisheries management responded appropriately over the last 15 years when/if the stock has failed to meet management objectives and/or maintain yields? 1.4 Has management exhibited responsiveness to concerns regarding the conservation and restoration of the stock’s essential freshwater, estuarine and coastal habitats during the last ten years? Criterion 2. Management Guidelines (Do the managers follow scientific advice?) Are the management guidelines (i.e. catch limits) appropriate and subject to scientific oversight? Criterion 3. Adequacy of Data (Do fishers comply?) 3.1 Is a portion of harvest attributable to illegal, unreported, or unregulated fishing, resulting in official harvest data that is lower than the actual catch? 3.2 Is the fishery’s harvest adequately and accurately measured and reported? 3.3 Have stock identification efforts been undertaken to determine the fishery’s stock composition? 3.4 Is escapement measured in a substantial and well-distributed quantity of stocks harvested by the fishery? Criterion 4. Stock Status (Is the fish stock healthy?) 4.1 Have escapement trends of the fishery’s stock aggregate been level or increasing over the last 15 years? 4.2 Has the catch trend been level or increasing over a 15-year period? Criterion 5. Are hatcheries or other enhancement activities negatively affecting wild stocks? (Will the fish stock be healthy in the future?) 5.0 Do hatcheries account for 10% or less of the fishery’s total production, or are hatchery-produced fish not in substantial contact with wild salmon? If “no,” then the following sub-criteria are analyzed: 5.1 Are managers able to identify and quantify hatchery fish in the mixed-stock aggregate? 5.2 Does hatchery abundance overly influence the determination of the fishery’s catch limit?

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Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs)

No related FIPs

Certifications

Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)

No related MSC certifications

Sources

Credits

This profile was seeded with the assistance of John Clark of St. Hubert Research Group.

  1. CDFW (California Department of Fish and Wildlife), 2013. California Central Valley Chinook Population Report. [online] GrandTab 2013.04.18, Compiled April 18, 2013. http://www.calfish.org/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=6%2fQW5vATDWo%3d&tabid=213&mid=524
  2. Columbia Basin Bulletin (CBB), 2014.  NOAA Fisheries issues new salmon/steelhead biological opinion for Columbia/Snake River Power System.  January 17, 2014.  http://www.cbbulletin.com/429522.aspx
  3. Conrad, R., A. Hagen-Breaus, and H. Yuen. 2013. Unbiased methods for calculating mortality in mark selective fisheries models for ocean salmon. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 33(2): 235-264.http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/02755947.2012.754806?journalCode=ujfm20#preview
  4. CTC (Chinook Technical Committee).2012. 2012 exploitation rate analysis and model calibration. Pacific Salmon Commission Report TCCHINOOK (12)-4. Vancouver. BC. 262 pp. http://www.psc.org/pubs/TCCHINOOK12-4.pdf
  5. CTC (Chinook Technical Committee). 2013. Annual report of catch and escapement for 2012. Pacific Salmon Commission Report TCCHINOOK (13)-1. Vancouver. BC. 260 pp. http://www.psc.org/pubs/TCCHINOOK13-1.pdf
  6. Daily Kos , 2013.  Feds kill fall salmon eggs on Sacramento River.  Friday December 13, 2013.  http://www.dailykos.com/story/2013/12/13/1262617/-Feds-kill-fall-salmon-eggs-on-Sacramento-River#);%20(http://www.kcet.org/news/redefine/rewild/fish/delta-tunnels-could-wipe-out-salmon-group-says.html#
  7. EPFCWTP (Expert Panel on the Future of the Coded Wire Tag Program for Pacific Salmon) 2005. Report. Pacific Salmon Comm. Tech. Rep. No. 18: 230 pp.http://www.rmpc.org/files/psctr18_CWT_Expert_Panel_Report.pdf
  8. Geiger, H. J. and X Zhang. 2002. A simple procedure to evaluate salmon escapement trends that emphasizes biological meaning over statistical significance. Alaska Fishery Research Bulletin 9(2): 128-134.http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/static/home/library/PDFs/afrb/geigv9n2.pdf
  9. KCET/ Redefine, 2013.  An introduction to California’s Delta Tunnel and salmon controversy.  December 10, 2013. https://www.kcet.org/redefine/an-introduction-to-californias-delta-tunnel-and-salmon-controversy#
  10. Klamathrestoration.gov, 2012. Klamath Facilities Removal, Final Environmental Impact Statement/ Environmental Impact Report (EIS/EIR). Vol. 1, ES-1, December 2012. https://klamathrestoration.gov/sites/klamathrestoration.gov/files/Additonal%20Files%20/1/Executive%20Summary.pdf

  11. KRTT (Klamath River Technical Team) 2013. Ocean abundance and prospective harvest levels for Klamath River fall Chinook, 2013 season. Summary, March, 2013. http://www.pcouncil.org/wp-content/uploads/stock_proj_final_rept_15Mar2013.pdf

  12. Lindley, S. T., C. B. Grimes, M. S. Mohr, W. Peterson, J. Stein, J. T. Anderson, L. W. Botsford, D. L. Bottom, C. A. Busack, T. K. Collier, J. Ferguson, J. C. Garza, A. M. Grover, D. G. Hankin, R. G. Kope, P. W. Lawson, A. Low, R. B. MacFarland, K. Moore, M. Palmer-Zwahlen, F. B Schwing, J. Smith, C. Tracy, R. Webb, B. K. Wells, and T. H. Williams. 2009. What caused the Sacramento River fall Chinook stock collapse?. Work Group report to the PFMC.http://www.pcouncil.org/wp-content/uploads/H2b_WGR_0409.pdf

  13. Mohr, M. 1997. Documentation for 1998 Klamath Ocean Harvest Model. Prepared for the Klamath River Technical Advisory Team.http://swfsc.noaa.gov/publications/FED/00647.pdf

  14. Myers, J. M., R. G. Kope, G. J. Bryant, D. Teel, L. J. Lierheimer, T. C. Wainwright, W. S. Grant, F. W. Waknitz, K. Neely, S. T. Lindley, and R. S. Waples. 1998. Status review of Chinook salmon from Washington, Idaho, Oregon, and California. U.S. Department of Commerce, NOAA Technical Memorandum NMFS-NWFSC-35.http://www.nwfsc.noaa.gov/assets/25/7190_07042012_124647_Myers.et.al.1998-rev.pdf
  15. Nandor, G.F., Longwill, J.R., and Webb, D.L., 2010. Overview of the Coded Wire Tag Program in the Greater Pacific Region of North America. In: Tagging, Telemetry, and Marking Measures for Monitoring Fish Populations. Wolf, K. and O’Neal, J., eds. Pacific Northwest Aquatic Monitoring Partnership – Special Publication. pp 5-46. http://www.pnamp.org/sites/default/files/ttmchap02.pdf
  16. Northwest Sportsman, 2014.   Local salmon-steelhead groups rip federal plan for Columbia Snake. January 17, 2014.  http://nwsportsmanmag.com/editors-blog/local-salmon-steelhead-groups-rip-federal-plan-for-columbia-snake/
  17. O’Farrell, M.R., Satterthwaite, W.H., and Spence, B.C., 2012. California Coastal Chinook salmon: status, data, and feasibility of alternative fishery management strategies. [pdf] US Department of Commerce, NOAA Technical Memorandum NMFS, NOAA-TM-NMFS-SWFSC-494. http://swfsc.noaa.gov/publications/TM/SWFSC/NOAA-TM-NMFS-SWFSC-494.pdf
  18. The Oregonian, 2011.  Federal judge shoots down plan for Columbia River Basin dams and salmon for third time.  August 2, 2011.  http://www.oregonlive.com/environment/index.ssf/2011/08/judge_james_redden_shoots_down.html
  19. PFMC (Pacific Fishery Management Council). 2006. Stock assessment and fishery evaluation (SAFE) documents: Review of 2005 ocean salmon fisheries. http://www.pcouncil.org/wp-content/uploads/apdxa_05.pdf
  20. PFMC (Pacific Fishery Management Council). 2008a. Fishery regulation assessment model (FRAM)—technical documentation for Coho and Chinook, Portland, Oregon: PFMC, Model Evaluation Workgroup. http://www.pcouncil.org/salmon/background/document-library/fishery-regulation-assessment-model-fram-documentation/
  21. PFMC (Pacific Fishery Management Council). 2008b. Chinook fishery regulation assessment model (FRAM): base data development, Portland, Oregon: PFMC, Model Evaluation Workgroup.http://www.pcouncil.org/salmon/background/document-library/fishery-regulation-assessment-model-fram-documentation/
  22. PFMC (Pacific Fishery Management Council). 2012a. The West Coast Salmon Genetic Stock Identification Collaboration Annual Report, 2011. Supplemental Informational Report 5.http://www.pcouncil.org/wp-content/uploads/INFO_SUP_RPT5_GSI_COLLABORATION_APR2012BB.pdf
  23. PFMC (Pacific Fishery Management Council). 2012b. Pacific Coast Salmon Fishery Management Plan. Portland, OR.http://www.pcouncil.org/wp-content/uploads/FMP_through_A-17_Final.pdf
  24. PFMC (Pacific Fishery Management Council). 2012c. Preseason report I. Stock abundance analysis and environmental assessment Part 1 for 2012 ocean salmon fishery regulations. Portland, OR.http://www.pcouncil.org/wp-content/uploads/Preseason_Report_I_2012.pdf
  25. PFMC (Pacific Fishery Management Council). 2013a. Preseason report I. Stock abundance analysis and environmental assessment Part 1 for 2013 ocean salmon fishery regulations. Portland, OR.http://www.pcouncil.org/wp-content/uploads/Preseason_Report_I_2013_FINAL.pdf
  26. PFMC (Pacific Fishery Management Council). 2013b. Preseason report III: Council Adopted Management Measures and Environmental Assessment Part 3 for 2013 Ocean Salmon Fishery Regulations;. Portland, OR. http://www.pcouncil.org/wp-content/uploads/Preseason_Report_III_2013_FINAL.pdf
  27. PFMC (Pacific Fishery Management Council). 2013c. Stock assessment and fishery evaluation (SAFE) documents: Review of 2012 ocean salmon fisheries.http://www.pcouncil.org/salmon/stock-assessment-and-fishery-evaluation-safe-documents/review-of-2012-ocean-salmon-fisheries/
  28. PNW Chinook ScorecardPNW_Chinook_Scorecard.pdf
  29. Prager, M. H. and Mohr, M. S. 2001. The harvest rate model for Klamath River fall Chinook Salmon, with management applications and comments on model development and documentation. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 21: 533–547.http://www.mhprager.com/reports/Prager_Mohr_2001_KHRM_NAJFM.pdf
  30. PSC (Pacific Salmon Commission). 2001. Fifteenth Annual Report 1999/2000. Vancouver, B.C.http://www.psc.org/Pubs/15th%20Annual%20Report.pdf
  31. PSC (Pacific Salmon Commission). 2008. Recommendations for Application of Genetic Stock Identification (GSI) methods to management of ocean salmon fisheries: special report of the Genetic Stock Identification Steering Committee and the Pacific Salmon Commission’s Committee on Scientific Cooperation. Pacific Salmon Comm. Tech. Rep. No. 23: 35 p.http://www.rmpc.org/files/GSI_Recommendations_Final_Report.pdf
  32. PST (Pacific Salmon Treaty, 2013.Teaty between the government of Canada and the government of the United Staes of America concerning Pacific salmon. [online] Update to the Pacific Salmon Treaty Act of 1985, January 2013. http://www.psc.org/pubs/Treaty/Treaty.pdf
  33. RMPC (Regional Mark Processing Center ), 2013. Regional Mark Information System database. [online] http://www.rmis.org/rmis_login.php?action=Login&system=cwt
  34. Seeb, L. W., Antonovich, A., Banks, M. A., Beacham, T. D., Bellinger, M. R., Campbell, M., Decovich, N. A., Garza, J. C., Guthrie, C. M. III, Moran, P., Narum, S. R., Stephenson, J. J., Supernault, K. J., Teel, D. J., Templin, W. D.,Wenburg, J. K., Young, S. F. and Smith, C. T. 2007. Development of a standardized DNA database for Chinook salmon. Fisheries, 32: 540–552.http://scholarsarchive.library.oregonstate.edu/xmlui/bitstream/handle/1957/23411/DevelopmentOfAStandardized%20DNA.pdf?sequence=1
  35. Williams, T. H., J. C. Garza, N. Hetrick, S. T. Lindley, M. S. Mohr, J. M. Myers, M. R. O’Farrell, R. M. Quiñones, and D. J. Teel. 2011. Upper Klamath and Trinity River Chinook Salmon Biological Review. Team Report.http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/species/Status%20Reviews/uktr_salmon_sr_2011.pdf
References

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    Chinook salmon - California-Oregon-Washington

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