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                       YUKON RIVER SALMON UPDATE
                             August 27, 2010
RUN SIZE ESTIMATES

Alaskan Portion Run Assessment: Chinook
Chinook assessment on the lower river is now over. The Pilot Station sonar run passage
estimate at season end (Aug 11th) was approximately 82% of the 2000-2009 average. The
cumulative CPUE at the endpoint of the lower Yukon Test Fishery index program was
84% of average. Preliminary genetic analysis indicates that approximately 50% of the
Pilot Station Chinook passage was of Canadian-origin. The low run estimates at Pilot
Station were supported by Rampart Rapids data where cumulative index values were well
below average throughout the season.
 Run Assessment Program                   Date           2010                Comments
                                         (as of)
 Pilot Station Sonar                     Aug 11         114,270   Average = 139,892 (2000-2009)
                                        Season end
 Lower Yukon Test Index*                 July 15         18.67    Average = 22.22 (1989-2008)
                                         program end
                                                   th
 Rampart Rapids Fish Wheel Index*       Aug 19          790    Average = ~2390 (2000-2009)
*average number of fish caught per unit effort of fishing (CPUE) – gives relative abundance for
comparison among years.

Alaskan Portion Run Assessment: Summer and Fall Chum Salmon
For in-season assessment and management purposes, counts of chum salmon at Pilot
Station through July 18th are assumed to be “summer” chum; after this date, chum salmon
counted at this location are referred to as “fall” chum salmon. Genetic stock identification
analysis is used to verify the portions of summer and fall chum estimated during the run.
Most of the summer chum salmon spawn in the lower reaches of the Yukon River in
Alaska.

The passage estimate of summer chum salmon at Pilot Station through July 18th was
1,327,130. The average annual count of summer chum salmon at Pilot Station for the
1995-2008 periods is 1,421,811.

The pre-season forecast of 690,000 for the drainage wide fall chum run was in the middle
of a very wide range, due to great uncertainty in forecasting the returns from the record
brood year of 2005. The passage estimate of fall chum salmon at Pilot Station, i.e. the
count after July 18, is 312,270 to August 26th. This is 54% of the average (1999-2009)
passage estimate to this date of 583,197. The cumulative passage estimate at this date in
2009 was 209,968. While erratic timing and highly variable strength of the pulses adds
uncertainty to forecasting of chum salmon run strength, historic run timing indicates that
Yukon River Salmon Update              Page 2 of 7                         August 12, 2010


the run is likely near 90% completed and that run strength is likely below or at the low end
of the preseason forecast.
The Rampart Rapids Fish Wheel cumulative CPUE (not adjusted for water level, which
has a strong influence on fish wheel catches) is at 7753, 58% of average. The ZRMC2
passage Index, which incorporates the historically observed relationship between water
level, catch and chum passage determined from other assessment projects, is 39088, 24%
of average.

Run Assessment Program                Date      (as 2010          Comments
                                      of)
Pilot Station Sonar                  Aug 26            312,270    Average (1999-2009) =        583,197
Fall chum (after July 18) estimate                                2009 estimate at this date= 209,968
Rampart Rapids cumulative CPUE* Aug 26                 7,753      Average 1996-2008) =         13,353
Rampart       Rapids      cumulative Aug 26            39,088     Average (1996-2008) =        163,794
ZRMC2 Index** of chum passage
*cumulative number of fish caught per unit effort of fishing (CPUE) – not adjusted for water level
**ZRMC2 Index incorporates the historically observed relationship between water level, CPUE, and
chum passage (determined from other assessment projects)

Coho: The Pilot Station Sonar estimation of coho passage to date this season: 76,644.
Canadian Portion Run Assessment: Chinook
The 2010 assessment of Chinook salmon entering the Upper Yukon River drainage was
determined from a joint U.S./Canada sonar program located near Eagle Alaska. This has
been the third year that this program has guided Canadian management actions.

The Eagle sonar Chinook daily passage estimate on August 16th was 185 Chinook, for an
initial season total sonar passage estimate of 34,603; the sonar project then switched to
begin estimating chum passage. This is approximately 60% of the five year average total
season Chinook passage estimate at Eagle. Run timing estimates indicate that the Chinook
passage into Canada is more than 99% complete, producing a border passage projection
(sonar passage minus harvest between the sonar and the border) of near 33,000 Chinook
salmon for the season. The final border passage estimate will consider harvest data and
late Chinook contribution to the Eagle sonar total estimate during chum season. Spawning
escapement is calculated by subtracting the Canadian harvest from the border passage
estimate. Spawning escapement will be well below the goal of 42,500.

The Klondike River sonar recorded Chinook passage from July 9th to August 18th. The
final season passage estimate was 777 salmon, 16% of the 2009 estimated run size. Big
Salmon sonar recorded Chinook passage to season end on Aug 26th was 3817, 68% of the
average recoded run size. Blind Creek weir reported Chinook passage from July 28th to
August 19th was 270, 43% of the average recorded run size. The first Chinook salmon
passed through the Whitehorse Rapids fish way on August 3rd. The total count to August
26th was 575 Chinook, 51% of the recent 5 year average.
Yukon River Salmon Update                 Page 3 of 7                          August 12, 2010


 Chinook Run Assessment Program                   Date            2010                Comments
                                                 (as of)
 Eagle Sonar                                     Aug 17       34,603        Average = 57,629 (2005-2009)
 (program now counting fall chum)
 Klondike Sonar                                  Aug 17           777        2009 count Aug 15 (end of
 (project ended Aug 17)                                                   project) =4725
 Big Salmon Sonar                                Aug 26           3817       Average = 5583 (2005-2009)
 (project ended Aug 26)
 Blind Creek Weir                                Aug 19           270       Average (1998-1999, 2003-
 (project ended Aug. 19)                                                  2009) to this date=634
 Whitehorse Fish way                             Aug 26           575         Average=1118(2005-2009)
                                                                              Average=1116(1988-2009)
 Estimate for Chinook 2010 Border                Aug 19       33,000
 Escapement
 Little Salmon Aerial Survey 2010 –              Aug 17            63        Average (1999-2008): 834
   (poor survey conditions in 2010)                                        2008 count: 93 2009 count:821
 Nisutlin River Aerial Survey-                   Aug 19           288         Average(1999-2008):408
   (good survey conditions in 2010)                                        2008 count: n/a 2009 count:497
 Wolf River Aerial Survey-                       Aug 19            94        Average (1999-2008): 137
   (good survey conditions in 2010)                                        2008 count: 22 2009 count:134

Canadian Portion Run Assessment: Chum

The fall chum run in the Yukon River usually includes an estimated average of 30%
Canadian chum. This usually includes a 5% contribution from the Canadian part of the
Porcupine River. Although there is a great deal of uncertainty (a wide confidence interval)
associated with the genetic analysis, preliminary results indicate that the Porcupine
contribution may be somewhat higher in 2010. (The Canadian portion of the run is
estimated through in-season genetic analysis of samples from each large pulse of chum
entering the Yukon River.)

The 2010 assessment of chum salmon entering the Upper Yukon River drainage is being
determined from a joint U.S./Canada sonar program located near Eagle Alaska. This will
be the third year that this program has guided Canadian management actions. The early
chum salmon have reached the border. Chum passage past the sonar site is estimated at
2106. The first large pulse of chum is expected in the first week of September.

Assessment of chum spawning escapement in the Porcupine system has been delayed due
to high water level, which prohibits installation of the Fishing Branch River weir.

Chum Run Assessment Date              (as of)              2010          Comments
Program
Eagle Sonar passage August 26                              2106          Project began estimating chum
estimate                                                                 passage Aug 17.
                                                                         Average (2006-2009) = 1978
Yukon River Salmon Update            Page 4 of 7                August 12, 2010


Fishing Branch weir         Aug 26                        Water level too high          for
                                                          counting fence installation

MANAGEMENT SUMMARY
U.S. Fisheries:
Chinook
The Chinook season is now finished in the U.S. There was no U.S. commercial fishing
directed at Chinook salmon in the lower Yukon River. However, there were commercial
openings for summer chum salmon with mesh sizes restricted to 6 inches or less; Chinook
salmon were caught incidentally during these openings. The openings were delayed until
the majority of the Chinook salmon was thought to have passed, i.e. after the ¾ point in
the run. The total combined area commercial catch to July 31st was 226,097 summer chum
and 9,842 Chinook salmon.

Subsistence Chinook fisheries were not restricted along the Yukon River, although there
was a request for voluntary cutbacks to allow for the required number of Chinook to reach
the Canadian border. Specific information on the US management of the subsistence
fishery can be found at: www.cf.adfg.state.ak.us/region3/yukhome.php

Fall Chum
There has been no U.S. commercial fishing directed at fall chum salmon in the lower
Yukon River.

When the fall season began, Districts, Y-1, Y-2, and Y-3 (mouth of the Yukon River to
Holy Cross) were open 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. District Y-4 (upstream of Holy
Cross) was open 5 days a week and District Y-5 (upstream of the Porcupine River to the
Canadian border) had two 36-hour openings. On August 3rd, Districts Y-4 and Y-5 were
opened up to allow subsistence fishing 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. The extended
subsistence openings were provided to facilitate a harvest of fall chum under the season’s
high water and heavy debris conditions. However, openings were later adjusted because
the fall chum run did not develop as expected.

A windowed subsistence schedule was implemented to spread the harvest throughout the
run and allow for escapement. On August 18th, District Y-1 was changed to two 36-hour
openings. On August 20th, District Y-2 and Y-3 had two 36-hour openings and District Y-
4, had two 48-hour openings. As of August 22nd, most of District Y-5 will have two 48-
hour openings.

Further subsistence restrictions were implemented because of indications of lower than
expected chum abundance. One 36-hour subsistence fishing period was cancelled in
Districts Y-1, Y-2 and Y-3 for the week Aug 23-29, 2010.
Yukon River Salmon Update          Page 5 of 7                     August 12, 2010



It is unlikely that there will be commercial fishing periods in the lower river to target fall
chum. Due to the low fall chum salmon abundance, it is unlikely there will be commercial
opportunities for coho salmon.

Canadian Fisheries:
Management of Canadian fisheries will be based on projections of total run size and the
number of salmon passing into the Canadian section of the upper Yukon River and harvest
share agreements within the Yukon River Salmon Agreement.

Chinook
The preseason run outlook was for a below average to average run with a total run size of
77,800 to 113,100 and a border escapement of 50,600 to 61,300 chinook salmon.

All indicators in Alaska were below average and suggested that the 2010 Chinook salmon
run size was below the low end of the preseason outlook. This border passage estimate
placed the run low in the Canadian YELLOW management zone. The preliminary border
passage into Canada is approximately 33,000.

Canadian Mangers met with Yukon First Nation Natural Resource Managers and as a
result First Nations managed their fisheries accordingly. Government and FN mangers
continue to meet to monitor the run in Canada and react as needed. The total First Nation
catch reported to date is 1466 Chinook salmon. Most First Nation fishers have stopped
fishing for Chinook, while others are practising conservation.

In addition to the regulated closure of Tatchun Creek and its mouth, DFO has extended the
closure area (to all angling) to include the area of the Yukon River adjacent to and
downstream of Tatchun Creek. A Public Notice has been distributed to affect this change.


Canadian Management actions for Chinook salmon projections in the various zones
are as follows:

The Red Zone is a Border Escapement Projection in the 1-30,000 range: this will
result in closure of all fisheries;

The Yellow Zone is a Border Escapement Projection in the 30,000 to 51,000 range:
this will require closures in the commercial, domestic and recreational fisheries and
restrictions will be considered in the First Nations’ fishery; and

The Green Zone is a Border Escapement Projection greater than 51,000: this will
allow for a “normal” (unrestricted) First Nations fishery and commercial, domestic and
Yukon River Salmon Update         Page 6 of 7                    August 12, 2010


recreational fisheries will be allowed but managed according to available abundance
within the Green Zone.


         Fishery               Status                   Comments
Upper Yukon First              OPEN First Nations are working to manage their
Nations Fishery                     fisheries in understanding of the current
                                    situation.
Recreational Fishery         CLOSED Daily catch and possession limits for Chinook
                                    salmon in the Yukon drainage are reduced to
                                    zero midnight July 09, 2010.

                                            DFO has closed the Tatchun Creek area to all
                                            fishing as of Aug 01, 2010.
Domestic Fishery             CLOSED
Commercial Fishery           CLOSED

Fall chum
The preseason run outlook was for a below average to average run with a total run size of
136,900 to 207,000 resulting in border passage target of 99,000 to 133,000 and a spawning
escapement of 70,000-104,000 fall chum salmon.

At this time, the Pilot Station sonar in Alaska is below average and suggests that the 2010
fall chum salmon run size will be below the pre-season outlook. Although the numbers are
currently lower than the pre-season outlook, it is still expected Canada will be in the
GREEN management zone. This is being monitored closely and may change as the run
progresses.

Canadian Management actions for Yukon River fall chum salmon projections in the
various zones are as follows:

The Red Zone is a Border Escapement Projection in the 1-40,000 range: this will
result in closure of all fisheries;

The Yellow Zone is a Border Escapement Projection in the 40,000-73,000 range: this
will require closures in the commercial, domestic and recreational fisheries and
restrictions will be considered in the First Nations’ fishery; and

The Green Zone is a Border Escapement Projection greater than 73,000: this will
allow for a “normal” (unrestricted) First Nations fishery and commercial, domestic and
recreational fisheries will be allowed but managed according to available abundance
within the Green Zone.
Yukon River Salmon Update         Page 7 of 7                      August 12, 2010



The Upper Yukon and Porcupine First Nations fisheries are currently open for fall chum
salmon. Based on U.S. assessment information, fishery restrictions may be required to
meet Canadian conservation objectives. The Upper Yukon spawning escapement goal is a
range from 70,000 to 104,000 fall chum salmon while the Fishing Branch River
escapement goal is a range from 22,000 to 49,000.

A summary of the current status of Canadian fall chum salmon fisheries is contained in the
following table:

         Fishery               Status                          Comments
Upper Yukon First              OPEN
Nations Fishery
Recreational Fishery          MIXED         Daily catch limit 2, Possession limit 4.

                                            Tachun Creek area remains closed to all angling
                                            until Sept 30, 2010 to conserve Chinook salmon.
Domestic Fishery             CLOSED
Commercial Fishery           CLOSED

DFO is committed to the conservation and sustainable use of this valuable fisheries
resource. Fishery openings have been consistent with the provisions of the Yukon River
Salmon Agreement of the Pacific Salmon Treaty and the Integrated Fisheries Management
Plan for Yukon River salmon. The need to continue with, or modify, fishery restrictions
will be reviewed on an ongoing basis. Additional fishery announcements may be made in
response to additional in-season assessment information, primarily information from the
Eagle sonar program.
For more information please contact:

Fisheries Management:
Steve Smith: phone: 867-393-6724; email: steve.j.smith@dfo-mpo.gc.ca

Stock Assessment:
Trix Tanner: phone: 867-393- 6720; email: trix.tanner@dfo-mpo.gc.ca

				
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