BPA Fish and Wildlife FY 1997 Proposal

Section 1. Administrative
Section 2. Narrative
Section 3. Budget

see CBFWA and BPA funding recommendations

Section 1. Administrative

Title of project
Feasibility of Live Capture and Selective Harvest of Anadromous Salmonids in the Columbia Basin

BPA project number   5502500

Business name of agency, institution or organization requesting funding
S.P. Cramer & Associates

Sponsor type   OR-Consultant

Proposal contact person or principal investigator
 NameSteven Vigg
 Mailing addressS.P. Cramer & Associates, Inc.
Fisheries Consultants
300 S.E. Arrow Creek Lane
Gresham, Oregon

BPA technical contact   , EWN

Biological opinion ID   CRFMP, NMFS (1995; Section X.C.)

NWPPC Program number   8.3

Short description
Investigation of the potential of live capture of salmon, release of weak stocks, and selective harvest of strong stocks. The study has two goals: (1) to provide harvest opportunities on strong salmon stocks, (2) to conserve weak salmon stocks.

Project start year   1997    End year   2001

Start of operation and/or maintenance   

Project development phase   Planning

Section 2. Narrative

Related projects
This proposal -- Live Capture and Selective Harvest is under Measure 8.3A and 8.3B. BPA Project 93-60 Youngs Bay Terminal Fishery was implemented under Measure 8.3C "Terminal Harvest Fisheries."

Project history
Harvest managers recognize the potential that selective fisheries have to increase the fishing opportunities for the public while providing significant benefits to the regional economy -- the highly successful recreational fishery on adipose-marked hatchery steelhead in the Columbia River is a prime example. PSC (1995) considered the use of selective fisheries as a management tool to be strongly supported by the need to conserve wild coho stocks, while utilizing hatchery production. PSC (1995) concluded that further research and development and monitoring and evaluation is needed to implement selective commercial fisheries. The Snake River Salmon Recovery Team (SRSRT; Bevan et al. 1994) supported the live capture and selective harvest concept, and recommended that all Columbia River fisheries be selective and capable of live capture and release by the year 2002. A feasibility analysis and implementation of selective fisheries is also endorsed by NMFS in the proposed Recovery Plan (Schmitten et al. 1995).

Biological results achieved
NA--New Project

Annual reports and technical papers
NA--New Project

Management implications
Salmon and steelhead stocks originating in the Columbia Basin are continuing to decline. Presently , the Snake River sockeye salmon is listed as endangered and the Snake River spring/summer chinook and fall chinook salmon are listed as threatened, under the ESA. Certain populations of coastal coho salmon and steelhead are currently petitioned for listing under the ESA. One of the major contributors to the coastwide decline of Pacific salmon during recent years has been maintenance of relatively high harvest rates on wild salmon populations in ocean and river mixed stock fisheries -- during a period of declining freshwater production and ocean productivity. Present harvesting methods capture various salmon stocks indiscriminately in mixed stock fisheries -- catching both the stronger (predominantly hatchery) stocks and the weaker wild/natural runs at the same harvest rate. A harvest rate that would be appropriate for a productive hatchery stock (e.g., Spring Creek Hatchery tule chinook salmon) or a coastwide aggregate stock (e.g., Oregon coho salmon) is oftentimes excessive for the less productive natural-spawning components of the species. Mixed-stock fisheries limit harvest and fishing opportunities on productive salmon stocks because fisheries are generally managed to meet spawning escapement goals for specific natural stocks and promote the conservation of the biological species. Furthermore, the targeted catch of stocks listed under the ESA is prohibited and incidental catch on co-mingled depleted natural stocks must be minimized in order to allow for sufficient spawning escapement for rebuilding and recovery to occur. Harvest managers need information and analyses to assess the efficacy of various strategies and fishing technologies to target known strong stocks in mixed stock fisheries, while maintaining the option of releasing individuals from weak stocks alive. Furthermore, data on public awareness, opinion, and behavior are needed in order for fishery managers to assess the potential effectiveness of various fishery options. Live capture and selective fisheries may provide opportunities to harvest the surplus production of stronger stocks while allowing higher numbers of the weaker stocks to escape to spawning grounds and thus accelerate the potential for rebuilding future generations.

Specific measureable objectives
1. Increased adult salmon passage survival through the mainstem Columbia River to the spawning grounds -- via reductions in harvest rates of depleted salmon stocks.

2. Increased harvest opportunities on strong stocks -- via development of selective harvest methodologies.

Testable hypothesis
H(1): Selective harvest does not improve fishing opportunities.
H(2): Live capture and selective release of wild stocks does not reduce harvest rates and increase natural spawning escapement

Underlying assumptions or critical constraints
Mass marking of hatchery fish (adipose clip) would be required for selective harvest of coho salmon in ocean fisheries. Mass marking of all Columbia Basin chinook salmon is not currently considered feasible; however, other methods of identification and selection may be feasible for chinook salmon, e.g., visual stock identification, size selection, and sex selection. Besides technical considerations -- social, cultural, institutional, regulatory, and economic cconstraints must be evaluated.

(1) experimental design:
A three-phase approach would be used for implementation of live capture and selective harvest measures:
Phase 1: Feasibility study (this proposal).
Phase 2: Conduct pilot demonstration projects -- in the Columbia River system -- on those harvest strategies and methodologies that were determined to have the most potential effectiveness.
Phase 3: Full-scale implementation of fisheries determined to be successful in providing additional fishing opportunities on strong salmon stocks while reducing harvest rate and increasing spawning escapement of depleted salmonid stocks.
(2) Fisheries harvest modeling, cohort analyses, public opinion surveys.

(3) No test fish will be required in 1997.

Brief schedule of activities
1997 : Feasibility study.
1998: Conduct pilot demonstration projects -- in the Columbia River system -- on those harvest strategies and methodologies that were determined to have the most potential effectiveness.
1999: Full-scale implementation of fisheries

Biological need

To increase survival of depleted anadromous salmonids by targeting strong stocks in selective live-capture fisheries and reducing harvest rates on weak stocks, especially those stocks listed under the ESA.

Critical uncertainties
(1) The technical feasibility of various identification, live capture, and release fishery systems. (2) Acceptance of selective fisheries by the general public and various special interest groups. (3) The participation of fishery management agencies and various fishery constituents -- especially the Columbia Basin Treaty Tribes.

Summary of expected outcome
1. Increased fishing opportunities on strong salmonid stocks.
2. Increased passage survival of adult salmonids during their upstream migration through the mainstem Columbia and Snake rivers by reducing legal harvest rates on specific srocks and/or size groups.

Dependencies/opportunities for cooperation
Cooperation of fishery management agencies, fishery constituents, Indian Tribes, and the public will be required for successful implementation of selective fisheries.

The risk of not developing selective live-capture fisheries is lost fishing opportunities on strong salmon stocks (e.g., up river bright fall chinook) and the overharvest of depleted salmon stocks (e.g., Snake River fall chinook).

Monitoring activity
Monitoring and evaluation (M&E) of selective fisheries would be an integral part of feasibility studies, pilot demonstration projects, and fishery implementation.

Section 3. Budget

Data shown are the total of expense and capital obligations by fiscal year. Obligations for any given year may not equal actual expenditures or accruals within the year, due to carryover, pre-funding, capitalization and difference between operating year and BPA fiscal year.

Historic costsFY 1996 budget data*Current and future funding needs
(none) New project - no FY96 data available 1997: 500,000
1998: 500,000
1999: 500,000
2000: 500,000
2001: 500,000

* For most projects, Authorized is the amount recommended by CBFWA and the Council. Planned is amount currently allocated. Contracted is the amount obligated to date of printout.

Funding recommendations

CBFWA funding review group   Below Bonneville Dam

Recommendation    Tier 2 - fund when funds available

Recommended funding level   $500,000