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
Coded-Wire Tag Recovery

BPA project number   8201300

Business name of agency, institution or organization requesting funding

Sponsor type   PSMFC

Proposal contact person or principal investigator
 NamePam Kahut
 Mailing address45 SE 82nd Drive, Suite 100
Gladstone, OR 97027-2522

BPA technical contact   Jerry Bauer, EWN 503/230-7579

Biological opinion ID   NMFS BO - Basic Monitoring

NWPPC Program number   7.2D.4

Short description
Continue support for the coded wire tag (CWT) recovery program used to track progress in increasing run sizes for anadromous Columbia River salmonid populations, including stocks listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and Pacific Salmon Treaty (PST) indicator stocks.

Project start year   1982    End year   

Start of operation and/or maintenance   

Project development phase   Implementation

Section 2. Narrative

Related projects
Oregon and Washington’s ocean CWT recovery programs are aided by varying levels of support, including the federal Anadromous Fish Act, U.S. Dept. of Interior Sport Fish Restoration, and Pacific Salmon Treaty (PST) funding. The commercial sampling program in the Columbia River and sport sampling programs in the Columbia River and Willamette River are also supported by funding from the Wallup/Breaux Act, PST, and states of Washington and Oregon. These additional funding sources make it possible to attain adequate sampling rates for recovery of CWT’s, and to summarize data that is critical to determine the status of Columbia River salmonid populations.

Funding for Columbia Basin fish counting facilities, which are essential to determining the status of Columbia River salmonid stocks, comes from a variety of sources, including governmental and private agencies.

Project history
Coastwide CWT Program Overview:
Coded wire micro-tags were first introduced in the late 1960’s as an alternative to fin clipping and various types of external tags. Coastwide use quickly followed and led to the early establishment of large scale ocean sampling /recovery programs by the five State/Province fisheries agencies (ADFG, CDFO, WDFW, ODFW, CDFG). Tagging programs have continued to expand, with over 55 federal, state, tribal, and private agencies (including Canada) now releasing over 50 million CWT marked salmonids yearly. Approximately 1,600 new tag codes are released annually, representing hundreds of studies at a cost of over five million dollars. The marking cost per tag is approximately 10 cents. An additional $9-10 million is expended coastwide annually in the recovery effort.
BPA’s Funding Support of Regional Tag Recovery Programs:
The Coded Wire Tag Recovery Project has been funded by BPA since 1982. It is a coordinated effort by WDFW and ODFW to collect CWTs from mature salmon and steelhead which return to fishery (sport and commercial) and escapement areas (natural spawning grounds, hatcheries, and Bonneville Dam fishways). PSMFC’s Regional Mark Processing Center provides access to the regional CWT information.

A coastwide CWT recovery effort is in place, with the burden of recovery costs resting primarily on the coastal states (Oregon, Washington, California, and Alaska) and British Columbia. However, beginning in 1982, BPA has funded its “fair share” of the CWT recovery costs and distribution of CWT information because of the major component of BPA funded tagging within the Columbia River Basin. The first year’s funding in 1982 was $400,000, with the funds administered through PSMFC. This support gradually increased until 1992 when BPA re-evaluated its fair share and substantially increased funding for the Columbia River sampling program. Funding reached a high point of $1,329,363 in FY 1994, followed by a cut in FY 1995 to $1,241,271. Funding for FY 1996 increased less than 1% to $1,251,738

BPA Funding of the Regional Mark Processing Center:
In 1992, BPA agreed to expand its “fair share” funding to support 20% of the operations costs of PSMFC’s Regional Mark Processing Center (RMPC) in accomplishing its role as a centralized coordination and data management center for all CWT data. The 20% level was selected because an estimated 20-25% of the 50 million tags released annually come from BPA funded projects in the Columbia Basin. Similarly, 17-20% of the coastwide tag recoveries come from BPA funded projects. Using this 20% guideline, $54,000 of the RMPC’s budget for FY1992 ($274,252) was funded by BPA. Funding for FY 1996 was $58,400. (Note: the RMPC budget is included in the total project costs discussed above.)

Needs for Increased Funding:
Recent ocean fishing seasons have become more targeted by time and area to access regional healthy salmon stocks and minimize impacts on critical wild stocks. These ocean management ad harvest strategies require higher “pulses” of sampling effort to meet minimum sampling rates required by the current sampling design and BPA contract. To accomplish ocean fishery port sampling tasks, higher levels of sampling effort are needed to maintain the 20% rate resulting from more sporadic landing patterns. Finally, the developing interest in regional coho mass marking and resulting selective ocean/river fisheries, beginning with the 1998 ocean fisheries, will significantly change CWT sampling methodologies and costs. This in turn will require major increases in sampling to maintain present sampling rates.
The BPA funding for Oregon’s ocean component of the ‘Coded Wire Tag Recovery’ project decreased from $209,329 in FY 1994 to $177,672 in FY 1996, a loss of 15%. Similarly, BPA’s funding for Oregon’s Columbia River component decreased by 6% in FY 1995 and 10% in FY 1996. The current funding level of $255,762 is only 85% of the 1994 funding at $301,388.

Biological results achieved
A great variety of Columbia River fish studies are initiated with the use of the CWT. These studies include stock selection, disease and diet evaluation, rearing density evaluations, juvenile passage past dams, hydro-mitigation programs, fishery and escapement contributions, and general life history parameters. The results of these studies would be very incomplete without recovery of the CWTs in the ocean and the Columbia Basin.

Biological results from ocean and Columbia River fisheries CWT data collection and analysis, in conjunction with escapement data, allow regional fishery managers to : 1) define distribution, contribution, exploitation rates, and survival rates for Columbia River stocks to set present and future management strategies; 2) Establish regional coordination and consistent evaluation standards to assess specific salmon stocks and their contribution to Oregon, West Coast, Canadian, and Southeast Alaska fisheries; and 3) Assess potential listing for regional stocks under the federal ESA.

Annual reports and technical papers
All CWT recovery information is provided to PSMFC’s Regional Mark Processing Center where it is validated and then added to the existing coastwide CWT database. Information may be retrieved in the form of either standard reports or raw record sets via the on-line Regional Mark Information System (RMIS).
Other related PSMFC publications include: Pacific Salmonid Releases through 1994 (updated yearly); Mark List - 1995 (updated yearly).

Quarterly and annual reports are submitted to BPA summarizing sample sizes, sample rates, areas sampled, and numbers of CWT recovered.

Direct management applications of this information are provided to the Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC) for inclusion in their annual Review of Ocean Salmon Fisheries and preseason salmon management reports (stock assessments and evaluation of annual fishery options). The CWT information is also instrumental in the assessment of critical regional salmonid stocks under the US/Canada Salmon Interception Treaty, and their monitoring of stock rebuilding through the Pacific Salmon Commission (PSC). Collected CWT information is reported by the PSC’s technical committees in annual technical reports. Recent evaluations of Columbia River salmonid stocks for possible listing under the federal ESA are included in federal Stock Status reviews.

The CWT data also play a key role in a number of technical documents and internal agency reports that assist regional managers, scientists, and the public in the evaluation of contribution and distribution of salmon stocks reared in the Columbia Basin. These include technical reports produced by the U.S. vs Oregon Compact agencies for use in setting Columbia River sport and commercial salmon seasons. Other reports include: 1) the Status Report: Columbia River Fish and Fisheries; 2) The Lower Columbia River and Buoy 10 Recreational Fisheries; and 3) The Willamette River Spring Chinook Salmon Run, Fisheries, and Passage at Willamette Falls.

Management implications
For more than 25 years, the collection and analysis of CWT recovery data from Columbia Basin and coastal hatchery stocks has provided a reliable and vital basis for forming present and future regional ocean and Columbia River fishery management strategies. The CWT information is used to stratify fishery and escapement salmonid populations by stock and age, and is used to reconstruct salmonid runs which are critical to building data sets used to predict abundance. These estimates of abundance (e.g., fall chinook) are used by coastal as well as inside fish managers to model various catch and escapement scenarios necessary to meet ESA impact restraints.

Loss or further reduction in BPA funding for CWT recovery activities in ocean fisheries and the Columbia River fisheries will jeopardize minimum sampling requirements of 20% sampling of landings and result in an inadequate CWT recovery and assessment to support stock management efforts. Lower CWT recovery rates for the Columbia River fisheries, for example, may be inadequate, particularly for rare tag recoveries such as those pertinent of ESA listed stocks. Stock composition data for regional stocks could also become unreliable and thus increase the difficulty in determining the population status of ESA listed and PSC indicator stocks. Reduction in BPA funding may also cause CWT recoveries to be inadequate for determining survival data necessary to evaluate BPA supported studies. Additionally, reduction in BPA funding would impact the timeliness of CWT extraction and decoding.

Specific measureable objectives
The results of a great variety of stock assessment studies will be achievable with CWT information provided by this program. It will also provide basic stock information used in run reconstruction and abundance forecasts of ESA listed as well as unlisted stocks. This enables fishery modeling to occur that minimizes impact on ESA listed stocks.

Specific objectives are to continue random sampling of the fisheries at a minimum rate of 20%, and to transfer all collected snouts in a timely manner to either ODFW’s Tag Processing Center at Clackamas or WDFW’s Tag Recovery Lab in Olympia for tag extraction and decoding.. The recovery data will then be forwarded on a timely basis to PSMFC’s Regional Mark Processing Center for processing and then made available as quickly as possible to regional users via its Regional Mark Information System (RMIS).

Testable hypothesis
The Coded Wire Tag Recovery project is a basic data collection and monitoring program for a wide variety of studies releasing CWT marked fish in the Columbia River Basin. As such, this category (testable hypothesis) is more directly applicable to the respective studies.

However, the recovery data also provide suitable and non-biased data for evaluating the impact of the various fisheries on Columbia River hatchery and wild stocks. Specific questions that are addressed include:
1) Are mainstem Columbia River salmonid fisheries effectively targeting harvestable stocks without negatively impacting rebuilding efforts directed at weak and threatened stocks.
2) Are the Columbia River fisheries operating within the harvest constraints stated in the biological opinion produced by NMFS as part of the ESA.
3) Can regional PFMC and West Coast PSC salmon treaty fisheries be managed effectively for both regional hatchery and critical wild stocks based on CWTs collected in a stratified random pattern and at a minimum sampling rate of 20%.
4) Are West Coast/regional/Oregon ocean salmon fisheries operating within the guidelines and harvest constraints adopted by regional management strategies to protect and rebuild critical stocks mandated under the federal ESA.

Underlying assumptions or critical constraints
A key assumption is that quality CWT sampling programs will be maintained and on-going in the Columbia River fisheries and escapement, as well as the ocean fisheries in order to continue to provide the necessary stock identification information required by researchers and fishery managers.

A second assumption is that a CWT sampling rate of 20% is adequate for the recovery of rare tags such as those pertinent to ESA listed stocks and for determining the survival rates of a specific stock. It also required that sampling is completed under a plan that requires specific stratified and random sampling elements.

A third assumption is that tag extraction and decoding will occur on a timely basis for use in in-season fishery management decisions and post-season stock status evaluations.

A critical constraint in the Columbia River sport fisheries is to reach the minimum CWT sampling rate of 20% because the sport fisheries are spread over large areas. It may not be possible to reach this objective in most cases without increasing the number of samplers at a major increase in overall program costs. In 1994, the CWT sampling rate of 20% was met in most Columbia River sport fisheries because of the increased funding available that year.

Critical constraints in the ocean fisheries include the adoption of harvest regulations that target healthy stocks for specific time periods and areas. Such fisheries are usually of short duration and can break up established sampling routines at various ports, resulting in sampling rates of less than the required 20%. The recent reduction in BPA ocean sampling support funding of 15% between FY 1994 and FY 1996 is likewise a constraint in meeting ocean fishery port sampling design requirements for CWT collection.

The states of Oregon and Washington have recently adopted a process to proceed with the mass marking of the 1995 brood public hatchery coho (SW Washington, Columbia River, Oregon Coast), with selective fisheries beginning in 1988. These actions will directly affect the present ocean and Columbia River CWT sampling programs, and will require additional manpower and electronic detection equipment to maintain the 20% sampling rate.

Sampling of mature salmon and steelhead is conducted in fishery and escapement areas by examining carcasses for missing adipose fins (salmon) or missing ventral fins (steelhead) which serve as flags for CWT marked fish. Commercial fisheries are sampled at a minimum rate of 20%. Strict control is maintained so that sampling is random and representative of a population.

When a CWT marked fish is found, the snout is removed, labeled, and frozen for later decoding at ODFW’s or WDFW’s head laboratory. An individual recovery record is kept showing species, area and date sampled, sample size, and length. In some cases, additional information on weight, sex, and present of fin marks and other marks is also recorded.

Once the tags are decoded, the recovery data records are inputted into the PSMFC CWT recovery database where it is validated and then combined with coastwide recoveries reported by other agencies. Tag recovery data (summary reports and raw records) are then retrieved for research and harvest management analysis.

Brief schedule of activities
Columbia River commercial fisheries are sampled by WDFW and ODFW as they occur during the spring (February-May) and fall (August-November) fishing seasons, while the sport fisheries are sampled year round in response to increasing and decreasing effort in the fisheries. Oregon’s ocean commercial troll fishery and recreational (charter and private vessel) fishery are sampled for CWTs at 12 major coastal ports of landing as required from May to November. Future sampling schedules will depend upon future fishing seasons.

The recent major regional (Washington, Oregon, California) change in management strategy to use the adipose only clip (no CWT) to mass mark the 1995 brood hatchery coho for most of SW Washington, Columbia River, and coastal Oregon will profoundly change Oregon’s ocean sampling and likely sampling in the Columbia River as well. Selective ocean fisheries on the marked hatchery coho are planned for the U.S. West Coast beginning in 1998.

The use of electronic detection equipment to identify and recover CWT marked fish (Ad+CWT) from the midst of large numbers of Adipose only marked hatchery fish will significantly slow down the sampling process, particularly during high volume periods in the commercial troll fisheries. This will require a doubling of troll sampling personnel from one-person to two-person port sampling crews in order to obtain the minimum sampling rate of 20% using electronic detection in place of the traditional visual identification. This will also require an increase in sampling effort for the Columbia River fisheries. Commercial sampling personnel will need to increase by 25-33% depending on the size of the coho fishery. Without the additional sampling personnel, it likely will not be possible to meet the minimum 20% sampling rate.

Tag processing in the CWT recovery lab occurs year around. Peaks occur in the spring and fall because of recoveries taken in the ocean fisheries and returning tagged fish to the hatcheries. Data processing activities at the Regional Mark Processing Center are on-going throughout the year, with peaks of activity in January-March and late summer/early fall due to the reporting of preliminary and finalized data, respectively.

Biological need
The recovery of CWTs from the ocean fisheries and the Columbia River is the single most vital element in the coastwide assessment of salmonid stocks and regional management strategies. Without this regionally gathered information, fishery managers would have little basis from which to assess Columbia River stocks, including those listed (or currently under review) under the federal ESA. Additional, the CWT information are used to calculate survival rates necessary to test hypotheses set forth in a wide variety of BPA funded studies.

Critical uncertainties
Adequate and stable annual funding is a critical uncertainty for maintaining a quality CWT recovery program that is essential to achieve a wide variety of study results and wide ranging ESA related fisheries management capabilities. Included in a quality CWT recovery program is the need for rapid tag extraction and decoding for use in in-season management decisions. BPA funding support, for example, has dropped 15% during the past two years. An additional complication is that the tagging and recovery phases of a CWT study are typically separated by two or more years, and thus funded under different fiscal cycles.

A second critical uncertainty is the introduction of mass marking of hatchery coho in Oregon and Washington (including the Columbia River), and the start of ocean selective fisheries in 1998. Without increased funding support, many ports of landing and Columbia River fisheries will not meet the minimum CWT sampling rate of 20% necessary for suitable CWT expansions for use in setting regional harvest strategies and assessing the impacts on critical ESA listed Columbia River stocks.

Summary of expected outcome
Biological Objectives: CWT recovery information will provide the results of a wide variety of fish studies funded by BPA throughout the Columbia Basin that have the general purpose of increasing survival.

Management Objectives: CWT recovery information will provide the basis to monitor and assess the impacts of the ocean and Columbia River fisheries on Columbia Basin salmonid stocks, including those considered or already listed under the federal ESA. This assessment includes stock distribution, fishery contribution, survival, and exploitation rates by fishery time and area.

Dependencies/opportunities for cooperation
The BPA contract for the collection of CWT information in Oregon’s ocean fisheries and in the mainstem Columbia River fisheries (cooperatively sampled by ODFW and WDFW) provides a major portion of the necessary funding to complete this program annually. However, additional funding support is required to achieve the necessary sampling rates and coverage of the fisheries. These funds come from several sources, including Anadromous Fish Act, Pacific Salmon Treaty, federal Sport Fish Restoration (Wallup/Breaux), and the states of Oregon and Washington. Multiple funding entities and some joint state agreements (e.g.: AFA funding provides the basis for regional cooperation in setting standards for CWT collection procedures and efficiency.

Data recovered in this program is incorporated into the PSMFC’s regional CWT database and distributed to a variety of federal, state, industry, private, international, and public users.

All Columbia River fisheries must be addressed in the ESA process involving the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) of the Columbia River Fish Management Plan as author of the Biological Assessment concerning fishery impacts. Final approval of fisheries and harvest are then the responsibility of the NMFS.

Regional ocean harvest strategies are adopted via the PFMC, PST, and the states. Additionally, all proposed ocean fisheries are evaluated relative to ESA listed stock impacts. The current CWT collection and evaluation system is the basis of this assessment prior to implementing harvest regulations. Without this CWT information, regional ocean fisheries and many Columbia River fisheries would be curtailed or eliminated due to lack of appropriate stock harvest information.

Without adequate CWT sampling rates, the analysis of Columbia Basin stock impacts cannot be correctly evaluated. This can result in faulty or incorrect conclusions that can then negatively impact management policy on ocean harvest (PSC/PFMC regulations) and Columbia River harvest, ESA evaluations, and PSC area treaty fisheries.

Monitoring activity
In-season monitoring of activity is provided by ODFW and WDFW fishery managers on an ongoing basis. Post season quality control of data is conducted by sampling oversight staff, reporting staff, and PSMFC data management staff.

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
1982: 245,000
1983: 549,100
1984: 546,000
1985: 579,814
1986: 598,634
1987: 1,200,000
1988: 270,478
1989: 813,251
1990: 738,663
1991: 872,452
1992: 1,324,279
1993: 1,285,319
1994: 1,329,363
1995: 1,241,271
1996: 1,251,738
Obligation: 1,251,738
Authorized: 1,160,588
Planned: 1,251,738
1997: 1,408,294
1998: 1,638,703
1999: 1,720,638
2000: 1,806,670
2001: 1,897,004

* 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   System Policy

Recommendation    Tier 1 - fund

Recommended funding level   $1,408,294

BPA 1997 authorized budget (approved start-of-year budget)   $1,400,759