Pacific Council News Summer 2019: Salmon

Council adopts Klamath, Sacramento fall Chinook rebuilding plans

The Council adopted Klamath River fall Chinook and Sacramento River fall Chinook salmon rebuilding plans in June, choosing “status quo” as the final preferred alternative for both plans. This means that fisheries will continue to be managed under existing protocols, allowing for maximum flexibility in structuring fisheries while rebuilding both stocks and minimizing negative impacts to coastal communities due to fishery constraints.  In addition to adopting the final preferred alternative, the Council asked the Habitat Committee to investigate habitat-related issues outlined in both plans, and tasked the Salmon Technical Team with scoping new tools to improve stock assessment and fishery modeling of Sacramento River fall Chinook.  

The Council also adopted the three coho salmon rebuilding plans (Strait of Juan de Fuca, Queets River, and Snohomish River) as drafts for public review, and is scheduled to consider these plans for final adoption at the next Council meeting during September in Boise, Idaho. 

These five stocks were declared overfished in June 2018. Under the terms of the fishery management plan, a rebuilding plan must be in place within two years.  National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) is charged with putting the rules in place, a process which takes about 18 months. The Council must submit all five plans to the Secretary of Commerce by September 2019.

Southern Resident Killer Whale Workgroup meets

In March of this year, NMFS announced plans to reinitiate Endangered Species Act consultation on the effect of Council-area ocean salmon fisheries on Southern Resident killer whales. NMFS and the Council agreed on a collaborative approach and began establishing work plans and a tentative schedule.

The Council subsequently formed the Ad Hoc Southern Resident Killer Whale Workgroup, which is tasked with reassessing the effects of Council-area ocean salmon fisheries on the Chinook salmon prey base of the whales. At its first meeting in May, the Workgroup affirmed its task and timeline, identified data gaps, developed risk assessment criteria and methods, and assigned tasks to members. The Workgroup provided a progress report at the June Council meeting and will meet again in July 2019.

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