This project undertook a stock-recruitment analysis for sockeye, pink, chum, Chinook and coho salmon Conservation Units (CUs) in the Skeena Watershed, as a necessary step towards developing benchmarks for status evaluations.
‘Benchmarks’ are biological reference points against which the attributes of a stock, such as its abundance or fishing mortality, can be measured in order to determine its status. Canada’s Wild Salmon Policy requires that the biological status of each CU be assessed relative to higher and lower benchmarks, which will be defined to delimit green, amber and red status zones. As spawner abundance decreases, a CU moves towards the lower status zone and the extent of management intervention for conservation purposes should increase.
This project built a technical framework and analytical tools to develop various benchmark options for Skeena salmon CUs, explored model choice and outcome/implementation uncertainty, and performed a preliminary assessment of the status of each CU.
It is important to note that this project was an independent analysis commissioned by the Pacific Salmon Foundation. This project did not determine actual benchmarks for Skeena CUs as that requires consultations (led by DFO) with First Nations and other affected parties.