Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Alaska Releases New Chinook Salmon Stock Assessment

State fisheries biologists have a new plan to gather essential information to understand the root causes of widespread declines in Chinook salmon stocks and track population trends into the future.

It’s the finalized Chinook Salmon Stock Assessment and Research Plan, 2013.

The document is the result of collaboration by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game with the Arctic-Yukon-Kuskokwim Sustainable Salmon Initiative on similar planning efforts, and partnering with federal agencies and academia. Other information came from input of stakeholders at the 2012 Chinook salmon Symposium in Anchorage, and independent peer review solicited from three fisheries scientists familiar with Chinook salmon life history and population dynamics.

ADF&G hopes to use this plan to guide its near-term stock assessment and research efforts on Chinook salmon in Alaska. Their central objective is to create a consistent stock assessment framework across a diversity of indicator systems in Alaska that will provide improved information for sustained yield management of Chinook salmon for a range of run sizes and productivity regimes.

The core of the proposed plan is a stock-specific, life history-based approach to research focused on 12 indicator stocks from around Alaska, representing diverse life history and migratory characteristics across a broad geographic range.

The 12 indicator stocks, from Southeast Alaska to the Arctic-Yukon-Kuskokwim, are from the Unuk, Stikine, Taku, Chilkat, Copper, Susitna, Kenai, Karluk, Chignik, Nushagak, Kuskokwim and Yukon rivers.

Recommended stock assessments include enumeration of adult escapement and stock-specific harvest in all relevant fisheries, as well as estimates of juvenile Chinook salmon abundance during the smolt stage.

The plan is available in its entirety online at

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