Adapting to Change: Managing Fraser Sockeye in the Face of Declining Productivity and Increasing Uncertainty – Statement from Think Tank of Scientists

Resource: Adapting to Change: Managing Fraser Sockeye in the Face of Declining Productivity and Increasing Uncertainty – Statement from Think Tank of Scientists

Authors / Publisher: John Reynolds and Laurie Wood, Simon Fraser University

Date: December 2009

PDF: Adapting to Change: Managing Fraser Sockeye in the Face of Decreasing Productivity and Increasing Uncertainty – Statement from Think Tank of Scientists

Summary:

A gathering of scientists met to discuss the return of Fraser River sockeye in 2009 which was the lowest in over 50 years and was only a small fraction of the number expected.  See the full report for the complete recommendations made.

The total return of Fraser River sockeye in 2009 was the lowest in over 50 years. This was only a small fraction of
the number expected. The productivity of Fraser River sockeye salmon, which is the number of adults produced per
spawner, has been declining since the mid-1990s to the point where Fraser River sockeye are almost unable to replace
themselves.
We believe that expectations in 2009 for Fraser sockeye were overly optimistic because forecasts did not adequately
account for this decreased productivity. This trend is not due to fishing. In 2009 management responded
appropriately by greatly restricting fishing to maximize the number of fish available for spawning. The weight of
evidence suggests that the problem of reduced productivity occurred after the juvenile fish began their migration
toward the sea.The total return of Fraser River sockeye in 2009 was the lowest in over 50 years. This was only a small fraction of the number expected. The productivity of Fraser River sockeye salmon, which is the number of adults produced per spawner, has been declining since the mid-1990s to the point where Fraser River sockeye are almost unable to replace themselves.We believe that expectations in 2009 for Fraser sockeye were overly optimistic because forecasts did not adequately account for this decreased productivity. This trend is not due to fishing. In 2009 management responded appropriately by greatly restricting fishing to maximize the number of fish available for spawning. The weight of evidence suggests that the problem of reduced productivity occurred after the juvenile fish began their migration toward the sea.