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Sacramento River Fall Chinook Workgroup Report: Alternative Approaches

Pacific Fishery Management Council Sacramento River Fall Chinook Ad Hoc Workgroup, may 2024

Click here to read the full report.

Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC) to Hold a Meeting June 7-13, 2024 to Adopt Management Measures for Ocean Fisheries, click on Agenda. Salmon is scheduled for June 8.


The Sacramento River Fall Chinook (SRFC) Workgroup (WG) is guided by the Terms of Reference (TOR) document developed to outline the tasks and products needed for the Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC or Council) consideration when reviewing the management and stock assessment tools currently in place for SRFC. The WG has discussed multiple topics, including the current management framework, stock status, abundance estimation and forecasting, fisheries, harvest estimation, and models associated with SRFC. The WG also discussed environmental variables that may affect SRFC along with the accuracy and stability of management models.

Consistent with the TOR, the WG has identified areas of potential improvement for SRFC assessment and management through evaluation of the management measures currently in use (reference points, conservation objective, harvest control rule, see Section 10). Potential improvements to the current methods used to characterize abundance and harvest (the Sacramento Index, SI), and forecast abundance (the SI forecast) were also identified. The WG also noted recent poor performance of the model used to determine the exploitation rate (ER) resulting from proposed fisheries (the Sacramento Harvest Model, SHM), but did not identify alternative approaches and thinks other bodies are better suited to that task. The WG noted the importance of environmental effects on productivity, and the varying predictability of different environmental drivers, and discussed how environmental effects could be incorporated into models and/or management measures.

The WG acknowledges that the potential improvements identified thus far vary in their complexity, data requirements, and likely timelines for investigation. In addition, some explorations would benefit, and likely require, additional resources and expertise not currently represented on the WG to investigate the task. Examples of this include improving the SHM, developing a life cycle model for SRFC, and fully evaluating benefits to the fishery under different scenarios.

In some cases, identifying the best alternatives will require clarity on conflicting guidance in the FMP with respect to maximizing yield versus production, and perhaps careful consideration of overall goals and how (or whether) to apply the theory behind maximum sustainable yield (MSY) or Optimal Yield (OY) for a stock that is neither entirely natural- nor entirely hatchery-origin. (see Appendix A).

In terms of guidance sought from the Council at this meeting, the WG highlights the questions posed in Section 8 of the Report and the needs for Resources and Expertise identified in Section 9.

Click here to read the full report.

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