2013 Annual Review
The audit team conducted the second annual audit site visit on Annette Island in April 29-30, 2013 and concluded that the AIR salmon fisheries were still in general compliance with the MSC standard. At the close of the audit, 10 conditions had been closed (completed), 9 remained open and on schedule, and 3 remained open but behind schedule (with minor and major non-conformances raised).
The MIC wrote an Action Plan outlining timelines and activities that would be taken to address the conditions in the MSC Public Certification Report. The Action Plan was approved by the assessment team prior to the fishery being certified in 2011 and was updated most recently in the Second Surveillance Visit Report published on June 1, 2013.
Condition 5: Estimate catches of all stock components for chum salmon.
The objective is to determine the specific contributions of local, non-local, hatchery and non-hatchery chum salmon to the AIR fishery, to evaluate fishery impacts on these stock components.Read More
The Client will work with ADF&G to gather information on stock structuring, target stocks, and stock productivity to estimate removals of local and non-local stocks. Hatchery contributions will be determined by marking hatchery fish and sampling for marks in adults returning to freshwater to spawn. Summer run chum produced locally at the Tamgas hatchery are thought to comprise a large proportion of the AIR harvest, and marking of these chum was supposed to start in 2011. The Tamgas hatchery stopped producing fall run chum after 2010, due to concerns about impacts on the local wild chum populations, which are fall run. Nevertheless, fall run chum are marked at other Southeast Alaska hatcheries, and sampling for these non-local fall run salmon will be useful for assessing the status of the wild stock.
Marking of Tamgas hatchery chum did not begin as scheduled due to technical problems with the hatchery water supply. Marking was re-scheduled to start in 2012, but continued problems with the water system delayed the process further. Work on the water supply is currently underway with a planned completion date of June 2013. These delays have raised a major non-conformance against this condition, and the Client will address the non-conformance by marking a sufficient proportion of Tamgas hatchery chum to conduct statistical analyses, starting in September 2013. Sampling will be conducted by MIC Fish and Wildlife starting in 2015, and data will be analyzed by the Southern Southeast Regional Aquaculture Association and ADF&G. With the aid of state funding, a large portion of the summer chum production will be relocated to a new hatchery facility on Melanson Creek, which will be capable of marking chum.Read Less
Condition 6: Evaluate the effectiveness of the harvest strategy for wild chum salmon.
The objective is to evaluate the harvest management strategy for AIR chum salmon, specifically determining whether harvest control rules have been effective for meeting wild chum escapement goals in AIR streams.Read More
The evaluation will analyze at least the most recent 10 years of escapement data and include a description of stream-specific escapement goals, fishery actions taken each year to meet the goals, explanations for cases where goals were not met, and a summary of how the goals are incorporated into the harvest control rules. The accuracy of escapement estimates will also be assessed.
A written evaluation was prepared on the effectiveness of the harvest management strategy for AIR chum salmon, which included the management objective, management measures, and harvest control rule results. Stream-specific escapement goals were identified based on the average of a 28-year time series of peak spawner counts, and aggregate escapement estimates were provided for all years from 1984 to 2011. Recent stream-specific data showed that escapements have fluctuated around target levels for the last five years since Southeast Alaska chum rebounded from a period of low productivity in the early 2000s. The report also included a description of management actions taken each year to meet escapement goals in each stream. The review team found that the evaluation provided sufficient evidence to demonstrate that the harvest management strategy appears effective at maintaining natural chum salmon stock abundance. Although Condition 6 is closed, both conditions 5 and 6 must be met to reach a passing score for the associated MSC performance indicator (PI 1.2.3).Read Less
Condition 9: Demonstrate that hatchery activities do not have significant negative impacts on wild chum stocks.
The objective is to demonstrate that hatchery activities do not have significant negative impacts on the productivity and diversity of local wild fall run chum stocks.Read More
The Tamgas Creek Hatchery discontinued the fall run program and now produces only summer run chum, which helps address concerns about straying of hatchery-origin fish into wild spawning areas because summer run chum return early in the year when AIR stream conditions are not suitable for spawning. Nevertheless, hatchery-produced summer run chum will be marked in 2011 and every subsequent year to determine if hatchery and wild salmon mix in AIR streams. A third party will conduct an external evaluation of hatchery impacts on wild salmon populations.
Although the initial action plan for this condition included marking of hatchery chum, marking was later considered unnecessary because the hatchery-produced chum will be exclusively summer run and unlikely to interact with local wild fall run chum populations. The need for a third party external evaluation of hatchery impacts was likewise eliminated. As a result, this condition was closed ahead of schedule at the first surveillance audit in May 2012.Read Less
Condition 11: Monitor hatchery impacts on wild chum stocks.
The objective is to monitor and estimate hatchery impacts on the escapement, status, productivity, and diversity of wild fall run chum salmon.Read More
Chum will be sampled from streams to determine if there is mixing of hatchery and wild salmon in wild spawning areas. Although the Tamgas hatchery no longer produces fall run chum, other hatcheries in Southeast Alaska produce fall run chum that may stray into the AIR spawning streams. Summer run chum produced at Tamgas hatchery will also be marked.
Because fall and summer run chum are unlikely to overlap in run timing, the focus of stream sampling has shifted to non-local hatchery strays. Sampling of fall run chum adults was scheduled to begin in 2012, but plans were reconsidered due to concerns about potential impacts on spawning escapements. Due to the delay in sampling, a minor non-conformance has been raised against this condition. To address the non-conformance, the Client plans to start sampling for hatchery marks during spawning ground surveys in 2013.Read Less
Condition 14: Establish a system for monitoring and reporting bycatch.
The objective is to establish a scientifically-defensible system for monitoring and reporting bycatch in the fishery.Read More
The Annette Island Packing Company will keep records of any bycatch they receive, either by tender or by fishing vessel. The company will produce reports describing the bycatch species, species count, poundage and date delivered. MIC Fish and Wildlife will receive a copy of this report daily along with fish tickets describing catches. Fishers will also record bycatch information in their logbooks.
Starting in 2011, a mandatory bycatch reporting system was implemented among commercial fishers landing catch at Annette Island Packing. Fishers maintain logbooks daily and submit the information at the close of each week. Fishers are not paid until they turn in their logbooks, which include information on bycatch, ETP species, fish retained for subsistence, and amounts and poundage of salmon caught. Summary data for 2011 and 2012 confirmed that bycatch is negligible. To keep the condition closed through the certification period, data will continue to be collected in order to detect any changes in fishery impacts on bycatch species.Read Less
Condition 15: Establish a system for monitoring and reporting fishery interactions with ETP (endangered, threatened, or protected) species.
The objective is to establish a scientifically-defensible system for monitoring and reporting fishery interactions with ETP species.Read More
AIR fishers will keep logs of any interactions they have with ETP species. MIC Fish and Wildlife will continue to conduct year-end surveys for bycatch and ETP species. The Tamgas hatchery will also monitor any interceptions of marked ETP Chinook salmon from Canada and the lower 48 United States.
Starting in 2011, a mandatory bycatch reporting system was implemented among commercial fishers landing catch at Annette Island Packing. Fishers maintain logbooks daily and submit the information at the close of each week. Fishers are not paid until they turn in their logbooks, which include information on bycatch, ETP species, fish retained for subsistence, and amounts and poundage of salmon caught. Summary data for 2011 and 2012 confirmed that incidental catch of ETP species is negligible. To keep the condition closed through the certification period, data will continue to be collected in order to detect any changes in fishery impacts on ETP species.Read Less
Condition 16: Reduce negative hatchery impacts on coho salmon habitat.
The objective is to reduce negative hatchery effects on habitat utilized by salmon.Read More
The Tamgas hatchery weir prevents fish passage to the upstream area, which includes habitat suitable for coho and sockeye salmon. No salmon have been allowed to pass upstream of the weir since the hatchery began operating in 1980, as hatchery management wanted to avoid introducing pathogens (particularly infectious hematopoietic necrosis virus, or IHN) into the hatchery water supply. Because coho are not very prone to IHN, the MIC will pass adult coho salmon above the weir to spawn naturally. In contrast, sockeye salmon are quite susceptible to IHN and will not be passed.
The MIC plans to pass coho salmon upstream from the Tamgas hatchery weir to spawn naturally. Current estimates of suitable spawning and rearing habitat suggest that 160-180 coho should be released above the weir. The timing of release will match the normal run timing of coho.Read Less
Condition 17: Demonstrate that there is a strategy for managing fishery and hatchery impacts on habitat.
The objective is to show there is a strategy for mitigating negative hatchery effects on salmon habitat.Read More
The Tamgas hatchery weir prevents fish passage to the upstream area, which includes habitat suitable for coho and sockeye salmon. Salmon have not been allowed to pass the weir since the hatchery started operating in 1980 to avoid introducing pathogens into the hatchery water supply.
The MIC plans to pass coho salmon upstream from the Tamgas hatchery weir to spawn naturally. Current estimates of suitable spawning and rearing habitat suggest that 160-180 coho should be released above the weir. The timing of release will match the normal run timing of coho. MIC has not provided a plan to pass sockeye salmon upstream of the weir, but Condition 3 requires that they develop a restoration plan for Trout Lake and Tamgas sockeye salmon.Read Less
Condition 18: Provide information on fishery impacts on ecosystem components.
The objective is to provide information on the impact of the fishery on ecosystem components.Read More
AIR fishers will log information on bycatch and any interactions they have with ETP species. In addition, MIC Fish and Wildlife will continue to conduct year-end surveys for bycatch and ETP species.
Starting in 2011, a mandatory bycatch reporting system was implemented among commercial fishers landing catch at Annette Island Packing. Fishers maintain logbooks daily and submit the information at the close of each week. These logbooks include information on bycatch, ETP species, fish retained for subsistence, and amounts and poundage of salmon caught. Summary data were provided for 2011. This system has replaced post-season surveys by MIC Fish and Wildlife.Read Less
Condition 19: Provide formal consultation opportunities for all parties interested in the fishery, including those outside the local management system.
The objective is to provide formal opportunities for interested parties, including those outside of the local management system, to participate in fishery consultations.Read More
The MIC will supply documentation of local and non-local agencies and committees and describe their levels of involvement in the fishery.
Plans are in place to complete a report on the agencies and committees that interact with the MIC, which will facilitate efforts to provide formal consultation opportunities. The report will include a summary of formal and informal consultations between the MIC and the state of Alaska regarding salmon fishery and hatchery management, such as in-season sharing of harvest information and sharing of data on tag recoveries.Read Less
Condition 20: Develop a formal policy establishing a priority for conservation of wild salmon populations.
The objective is to write a formal policy establishing a priority for conservation of wild salmon populations relative to hatchery enhanced fish within the AIR.Read More
Plans are in place to develop a formal policy establishing the priority for conserving wild salmon over enhanced salmon in the AIR. A draft policy will be developed and submitted to the MIC Tribal Council for consideration. Progress is on track to address this condition by the third annual surveillance audit.
Condition 21: Develop a research plan for collecting information relevant for sustainable fishery management.
The objective is to develop a comprehensive research plan that will provide reliable and timely information for managing the fishery in a sustainable manner.Read More
The plan will include a process for disseminating research results and a description of how research will be implemented. Tamgas Hatchery and MIC Fish and Wildlife will collaborate to write this plan, which will detail goals and objectives for each five year period.
A comprehensive research and monitoring plan has been prepared. The plan summarizes management goals, objectives and criteria used as guidance for identifying research needs. Topics requiring research include: 1) interactions between fishermen and marine mammals, 2) interactions between hatchery and wild stocks, 3) sockeye restoration methods, 4) an updated salmon habitat assessment, and 5) evaluations of shellfish production alternatives. The research plan identifies current activities, priority projects and long term needs for future development. Methods for current and planned projects are described. Research results (including summaries of ongoing projects in the annual management report) will be published on the MIC website.Read Less
Condition 22: Distribute annual post-season monitoring reports.
The objective is to establish a system for distributing post-season monitoring reports each year.Read More
Annual monitoring and evaluation reports will be written and posted on the MIC website. Reports will include numbers of fish harvested by species, gear type, season length, and catch area. They will also include estimated proportions of hatchery-origin fish in the harvest and escapement, and hatchery broodstock and juvenile production numbers by species. The reports will list research activities conducted during the year and descriptions of any unique environmental conditions.
An annual report was completed for the 2011 AIR salmon fishery, with the requested information detailed above. A website has been constructed to disseminate annual reports, and the catch and escapement report for the 2011 fishing year may be found there at: http://www.metlakatla.com/wp/dfw/2012/06/06/2011-salmon-catch-escapement-report/Read Less