Pacific Salmon Foundation: Salmon Watersheds Program

Sockeye salmon spawning in the Kwakusdis River, Heiltsuk Territory. Photo by Olivia Leigh Nowak.
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Skeena Sockeye In-River Run Reconstruction

The objective of this project was to compile data on CU-specific escapements and in-river fisheries in order to build an in-river run reconstruction model for the Skeena Watershed.

LGL’s data compilation work completed in 2012 provided estimates of marine exploitation rates for each Skeena sockeye Conservation Unit (CU) using estimates of migration timing for each CU. However, these analyses did not include details on the location and timing of in-river fisheries needed to estimate harvests for the various sockeye CUs within the Skeena watershed. Estimates of in-river harvest by CU needed to be combined with those for marine fisheries in order to better estimate total exploitation rates for Skeena sockeye.

Run reconstruction analyses have previously been used to estimate CU-specific harvest rates for in-river fisheries targeting Fraser sockeye and Chinook salmon. This analysis uses the basic structure of the Fraser in-river run reconstruction models to develop a similar model for the Skeena watershed. The proposed model provides a systematic process for combining information on catch, escapement, river entry run timing, escapement run timing, stock specific migration rates through fisheries and fishery timing. The results from these run reconstruction analyses, combined with the marine harvest rates estimated annually using the Northern Boundary Sockeye Run Reconstruction (NBSRR) model, allow improved estimation of stock status and provide the biological basis for evaluating alternative fisheries management options for Skeena sockeye CUs.

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