Pacific Salmon Foundation: Salmon Watersheds Program

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Biological Benchmarks and Building Blocks for Aggregate-Level Management Targets for Skeena and Nass Sockeye Salmon

author Fisheries and Oceans Canada
published year 2023
document type government
species sockeye
location British Columbia
subjects biological benchmarks, management targets, Skeena, Nass
access file download pdf

Under the renewed Pacific Salmon Treaty (PST) provisions, Canada agreed to complete a comprehensive escapement goal analysis for Sockeye Salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka) returning to the Skeena and Nass rivers. An aggregate escapement goal for Skeena and Nass Sockeye Salmon is used to set Annual Allowable Harvests (AAH) for U.S. and Canadian fisheries targeting both stock aggregates. In addition to renewed PST provisions, biologically-based escapement goals for Skeena and Nass River Sockeye Salmon are used for Canadian fishery management including implementation of the Nisga’a Treaty, First Nations and other fisheries in the Skeena and Nass rivers.

Aggregate Sockeye Salmon returns to the Skeena and Nass watersheds are comprised of numerous ecologically and genetically distinct smaller stocks, some of which are depressed and are considered stocks of concern. Several stocks are data-limited, as a result the status of these stocks is uncertain. In addition, enhanced-origin Sockeye Salmon from artificial spawning channels and flow-controlled sections of two tributaries to Babine Lake account for a large proportion of aggregate Skeena Sockeye Salmon production. Canada is seeking to maintain the future productivity of Skeena and Nass Sockeye Salmon returns by maintaining the genetically unique wild Sockeye Salmon populations that contribute to overall returns consistent with Canada’s Wild Salmon Policy.