Salmon FMP Amendment 24:

Action status

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

The intent of Amendment 24 is to clarify the technical process for reviewing updates to the models used to determine the Chinook salmon abundance threshold that may trigger additional management measures to limit the impact of ocean salmon fisheries on Southern Resident killer whales (SRKW). The whales are listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and Chinook salmon, some of which are listed as threatened under the ESA, are their preferred prey. The amendment is administrative in nature and does not change the formula for calculating the threshold or the fishery management responses currently described in the Salmon Fishery Management Plan (FMP). The amendment pertains to Section 6.6.8 – Southern Resident Killer Whale (SRKW) Management Measures; however, additional administrative edits were made throughout the FMP to address any minor errors and updates as needed.

The Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) adopted management measures for SRKW in November 2020 under FMP Amendment 21. A key component of those management measures is a Chinook abundance threshold (threshold) that is used as a trigger to implement additional management actions if the projected Chinook abundance is below the threshold. The threshold is calculated using two models that are periodically updated. Because the numerical value of the threshold would need to be recalculated when the models were updated periodically, a description of the technical process to review the model updates and report any resulting change was included.

In April 2022 consistent with the FMP, the Council asked the Salmon Technical Team and Scientific and Statistical Committee to conduct a technical review of new data used to update the models; however, as the review was underway, it became apparent that the language describing the process, roles and responsibilities within that process, and the appropriate depth of review was unclear.

In November 2022, when the Council adopted a revised threshold value to account for model updates, the Council also asked National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and Council staff to evaluate the FMP description of the process for the technical review and suggest clarifying language to improve the process for potential FMP amendment.

In September 2023, the Council adopted for public review draft administrative edits to the Pacific Salmon FMP under Amendment 24.

In November 2023, the Council took final action and adopted the proposed edits which were incorporated into the FMP under Amendment 24.