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 1: Demonstrate that management reference points will help maintain the diversity and productivity of coho salmon stock components.
The objective is to show that management reference points for coho salmon are consistent with maintaining the diversity and productivity of stock components.Read More
Reference points (such as limit reference points and target reference points) are used to evaluate stock status and help set harvest guidelines. Adult coho escapements and juvenile counts in index streams will be monitored to document population status relative to target reference points, and numbers of marked hatchery-origin fish will be recorded. Marked adults will be sampled to identify the specific hatcheries that produced them.
Planning is in progress to implement a coho assessment program. The first step will be to evaluate the effectiveness of adult spawner count surveys in index streams, as coho spawn during the fall when streams can be high and muddy, making it difficult to see the fish. Initial survey efforts will concentrate on streams near the Tamgas hatchery to determine if substantial numbers of hatchery-origin fish are present. If possible, carcasses will be recovered from the spawning grounds and examined for hatchery-specific marks to estimate the hatchery contribution to natural spawning. The proportion of Tamgas hatchery production that is marked will increase, which should improve estimates of hatchery contributions to wild production in a few years. Juvenile fish surveys are planned for the summer to develop a more complete picture of coho distribution and abundance in the AIR. Coho monitoring and evaluation efforts should begin in 2013 to meet this condition by the third surveillance audit.Read Less
Condition 7: Estimate catches of all stock components for coho salmon.
The objective is to determine the specific contributions of local, non-local, hatchery and non-hatchery coho salmon to the AIR harvest, to evaluate fishery impacts on these stock components and provide information on stock structure and productivity for supporting the coho harvest strategy.Read More
The stock composition of the AIR catch has not been fully assessed, but it likely includes wild coho of local origin, coho produced by the Tamgas hatchery, and wild and hatchery coho from other areas. The Client will work with ADF&G to gather relevant data for estimating the harvest of local and non-local stocks, including coho marked at Tamgas and other Southeast Alaska hatcheries. The analysis will include at least three years of fishery data and is expected to estimate total harvest, percentage of total harvest, and exploitation rate of Tamgas hatchery coho by fishery (MIC and state fisheries).
Total harvest, percentage of total harvest, and exploitation rate of AIR coho by the MIC and state fisheries were estimated using five years of data. Tamgas Creek Hatchery coho account for approximately 70% of the AIR fishery catch on average, whereas coho from other Southeast Alaska hatcheries account for approximately 30% of the catch on average. These results were reported in the 2012 and 2013 annual management reports and are expected to be updated in future reports.Read Less
Condition 10: Demonstrate that hatchery activities do not have significant negative impacts on wild coho stocks.
The objective is to demonstrate that hatchery activities do not have significant negative impacts on the productivity and diversity of wild coho stocks, by estimating proportions of hatchery-origin fish in wild spawning areas.Read More
Hatchery-produced coho are typically marked using two methods, coded wire tags and thermal marking. The proportion of hatchery fish marked with coded wire tags will be increased from 2 to 3%. Thermal marking can be more easily applied to all hatchery-produced fish and will start being implemented as well. All efforts to increase marking will improve estimates of hatchery contributions to wild spawning. Fish will be sampled for hatchery marks during stream surveys of spawning adults. A third party will conduct an external assessment of the Tamgas hatchery program, which will include recommendations for reducing potential impacts on wild salmon populations.
Sampling methods for adult coho are still under development. Until thermally-marked hatchery coho are produced and sampled, hatchery contributions will be estimated using data from coded wire tags. The external assessment of the Tamgas hatchery was scheduled to be completed by the second audit, but no update on the assessment was provided.Read Less
Condition 12: Improve information for assessing hatchery impacts on wild coho stocks.
The objective is to monitor and estimate hatchery impacts on the escapement, status, productivity, and diversity of wild coho salmon.Read More
An increasing proportion of hatchery-produced coho will be marked, and escapements will be sampled for marked fish to estimate hatchery contributions.
Adult coho salmon have proven difficult to sample in streams due to their return timing, which occurs after fall rains have increased stream flows and reduced visibility in the water. Additionally, coho occur in low densities and spawn over an extended time period, making their carcasses difficult to find.
Hatchery-produced coho are typically marked using two methods, coded wire tags and thermal marking. Thermal marking of Tamgas hatchery coho has not yet begun due to technical issues with the hatchery water supply, but data from coded wire tags suggest that these salmon sometimes stray long distances.
In 2013, stream surveys will be concentrated in streams near the Tamgas hatchery, where hatchery-origin coho are most likely to occur in significant numbers.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.Read Less
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