Salmon FMP Amendment 21: Fishery management measures included to limit impacts on Southern Resident Killer Whales

Action status

  • Implemented
  • Undergoing NMFS Review
  • Approved by Council
  • Under development by the Council

In response to the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) re-initiating Endangered Species Act (ESA) consultation on the effect of Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council)-area ocean salmon fisheries on Southern Resident Killer Whales (SRKW), the Council formed the Ad Hoc SRKW Workgroup (Workgroup) in April 2019.  The Workgroup was tasked with reassessing the effects of Council-area ocean salmon fisheries on the Chinook salmon prey base of SRKW, and if needed recommend conservation measure(s) or management tool(s) intended to further limit Council-area fishery impacts on Chinook salmon prey availability for SRKW. 

In June 2020, the Council adopted the Workgroup’s Risk Assessment report, which helped inform the Council of potential impacts to SRKW resulting from of implementation of the Salmon Fishery Management Plan (FMP).  The Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC) conducted a technical review and provided an SSC report in support of the analytical methods and materials in the risk assessment.

In September 2020, the Council adopted a range of management alternatives and recommendations for public review consisting of a suite of management strategy alternatives including status quo and a series of options establishing a Chinook abundance threshold within the area North of Cape Falcon, OR, and a list of potential actions that could be taken if abundance fell below that threshold.

In November 2020, the Council adopted for recommendation to NMFS a final preferred alternative to address the effect of Council-area ocean salmon fisheries on the Chinook salmon prey base of SRKWs.  In essence, the Council recommended that a Chinook abundance threshold be established and if preseason projections were less than the threshold, then a list of management actions would be implemented for that year.  Supporting material included an analytical report from  NMFS, an updated range of alternatives and updated list of potential responses from the Workgroup.  

In September 2021, the Council received from NMFS a letter announcing the approval of Amendment 21 to the Pacific Coast Salmon Fishery Management Plan. The NMFS Notice of Decision includes links to supporting material and other information this topic.