2013 Annual Review
The audit team conducted the third annual surveillance site visit October 7-11, 2013 and published the surveillance report on January 20, 2014. Across all units of certification, 34 conditions were closed (completed), and 11 remained open and behind schedule. For the Barkley Sound unit, all 9 conditions were closed.
Condition 9: Assess effects of Henderson Lake hatchery on wild stocks.
The objective is to assess impacts of enhancement activities on wild sockeye stocks in Barkley Sound, with specific reference to the Henderson Lake hatchery.Read More
The hatchery released about 200,000 marked fry per year until 2007, when hatchery operations ceased. To meet the condition, DFO will sample for marked fish and estimate the proportion of hatchery-origin fish in wild spawning areas. Another potential enhancement activity is fertilization of the Great Central Lake, which aims to increase salmon population productivity. However, the assessment team decided not to include lake fertilization under this condition as it is not likely an issue of concern.
DFO completed a report on Henderson Lake sockeye salmon, which noted that wild Henderson sockeye started to decline after the hatchery program launched. One hypothesis for the decline was that disease in the hatchery affected wild fish, and another was that hatchery juveniles competed with wild salmon for resources in Henderson Lake. The contribution of hatchery salmon to adult returns averaged about 33% per year from 2007 to 2008.
DFO also made changes in the fishery management plan for Barkley Sound sockeye. The stock composition of catches is determined weekly using DNA analysis, and the fishery is managed so that limited quantities of Henderson Lake sockeye are harvested. Fishery impacts on Great Central and Sproat Lake stocks are monitored as well. The report and management changes were considered adequate for closing this condition.Read Less
Condition 10: Obtain reliable escapement estimates for Henderson Lake sockeye.
The objective is to obtain more reliable estimates of escapements for the Henderson Lake sockeye stock, which is in likely need of recovery.Read More
Escapements were not regularly monitored, and the assessment team found the estimates questionable. DFO will upgrade the programs for juvenile and adult monitoring and provide a report with improved escapement estimates.
DFO provided a 2010 working paper describing the methods used to monitor escapements for Henderson Lake sockeye and assess stock abundance. The monitoring program has made improvements since the paper was written, including: 1) increased surveys of spawning salmon, 2) sampling for age composition, and 3) use of remote video and sonar for surveys. The audit team decided that the escapement monitoring program is now reliable and closed the condition.Read Less
Condition 11: Define a limit reference point for Henderson Lake sockeye salmon.
The objective is to define a limit reference point (LRP) for Henderson Lake sockeye salmon, which will be useful for assessing stock status and determining harvest guidelines.Read More
The Henderson Lake stock lacks data for estimating the relationship between the number of spawners and the number of recruits produced (stock-recruit analysis), which is needed for the WSP’s standard method for estimating the LRP. Thus DFO used an alternative method for obtaining an LRP, estimating the number of juvenile sockeye the lake can support (carrying capacity) and then calculating the number of adult salmon needed to achieve that carrying capacity (Smax). Fifteen percent of Smax can be considered a lower escapement benchmark, similar to an LRP. DFO also estimated a ‘sustainable escapement goal’ using escapement data collected from 1980 to 2012. These benchmarks still need to be evaluated by the Canadian Science Advisory Secretariat, but they sufficed for closing this condition.Read Less
Condition 12: Demonstrate that the productivity of non-target stocks was considered when defining the interim target reference point for Somass sockeye salmon.
The objective is to show that the interim target reference point (TRP) for Somass sockeye salmon is scientifically defensible.Read More
Interim TRPs are being used until upper benchmarks have been defined for all salmon conservation units under the Wild Salmon Policy (WSP), and there is some scientific disagreement about whether the interim TRPs are sufficient for guiding harvest decisions. In particular, DFO did not provide evidence that the productivities of non-target stocks (such as Henderson Lake sockeye) were considered when defining the interim Somass TRP.
DFO has stated that the TRP for Somass sockeye is not adjusted for the productivity of Henderson Lake sockeye because the stocks are separated in time and space. However, fishing opportunities are adjusted based on stock productivity. Specifically, the total allowable catch would be lowered if the target and/or non-target stock appears to have low productivity in a given year, an approach that has been approved by all stakeholders. The assessment team determined that this type of contingency plan was sufficient for closing the condition.Read Less
Condition 20: Define limit reference points (LRPs) for Barkley Sound sockeye stocks and implement recovery plans for stocks that are below their LRP.
The overall objective is to plan for the recovery of depleted sockeye salmon stocks.Read More
First, limit reference points (LRPs) will be defined for all Barkley Sound stocks. Second, comprehensive recovery plans will be developed and implemented for any stocks that are below their LRP, including information on the probability and timing of recovery. This condition is of special concern for the Henderson Lake stock, which is likely in need of recovery. Although some management actions have been taken to reduce harvest rates on the Henderson Lake stock, the lack of reliable catch data makes it challenging to assess the efficacy of those actions.
The Barkley Sound Integrated Fisheries Management Plan describes stock concerns, fishery objectives, and in-season decision points pertaining to the fishery. DFO provided evidence that exploitation rates on Henderson sockeye have been relatively low in recent years, averaging about 13% from 1997-2007, and they also showed that the stock has been above its interim LRP (10,000 fish) from 2007-2010. The assessment team determined there was sufficient evidence that fisheries have been restricted, supporting the recovery of Henderson Lake sockeye. A formal LRP and recovery plan have not yet been developed for the Henderson stock, although there is redundancy with other conditions to address some of these needs. For example, an LRP needs to be defined under Condition 11.Read Less
Condition 31: Show that the management system employs a precautionary approach, particularly with regard to stock recovery.
This condition has the same objective as Condition 20, to plan for the recovery of depleted sockeye salmon stocks.Read More
First, limit reference points (LRPs) will be defined for all Barkley Sound stocks. Second, recovery plans will be developed and implemented for any stocks that are below their LRP, including information on the probability and timing of recovery. This condition is of special concern for the Henderson Lake stock, which is likely in need of recovery. Evidence should be provided that DFO is conducting research needed for implementation of these precautionary measures.
The Barkley Sound IFMP describes stock concerns, fishery objectives, and in-season decision points pertaining to the fishery. DFO provided evidence that exploitation rates on Henderson sockeye have been relatively low in recent years, averaging about 13% from 1997-2007, and they also showed that the stock has been above its interim LRP (10,000 fish) from 2007-2010. The assessment team determined that DFO is engaging in research efforts needed for implementing precautionary measures.Read Less
Condition 32: Show that there are incentives for fishers to not exceed catch limits.
The goal is to demonstrate that management measures are being implemented that provide incentives for fishers to not exceed target catches.Read More
At the time of the assessment, there was no evidence of management approaches creating such incentives for commercial fishers. However, First Nation treaties allow salmon allocations to be defined and penalize fishers that exceed harvest limits by reducing their harvest opportunities in future years.
DFO provided an integrated fisheries management plan (IFMP) which described harvest management for Barkley Sound sockeye. In accordance with the Maa-nulth Final Agreement, each harvest sector (commercial gill net, set net, recreational fisheries, First Nations) receives a specific salmon allocation and is part of a co-management process. According to DFO, no sector has exceeded their allocation since this process was implemented, and fishers voluntarily curtail fisheries when salmon returns are very low. Additionally, an individual transferable quota (ITQ) system, which also uses allocations, was implemented for the purse seine fishery. These allocation systems provide fishers with incentives to stay within harvest limits.Read Less
Condition 33: Provide a research plan.
The objective is to develop and provide a research plan that addresses concerns that have been identified for this fishery, including fishery impacts on marine mammals and status of Henderson Lake sockeye.Read More
The plan should take socioeconomic issues resulting from management actions and anticipated changes for the fishery into consideration. DFO will identify ecosystem and socioeconomic research objectives as part of the Wild Salmon Policy (WSP).
DFO provided some documentation of a Stock Assessment Framework (SAF) process that considers management needs, available information, risk assessment, and priorities for resource allocation, and provides strategies for addressing information gaps. The SAF process is still incomplete and lacks commitments from scientists and managers, synthesis documents for stakeholders, and funding arrangements. Nevertheless, the SAF process was considered adequate for closing this condition.Read Less
Condition 34: Consult First Nations and address issues identified during the consultation process.
The objective is to consult First Nations regarding aboriginal and treaty rights and address any issues identified during the consultation process.Read More
First Nations representatives have expressed concerns regarding their access to sockeye salmon for food, social, and ceremonial (FSC) purposes in the Fraser, Barkley Sound, and Skeen fisheries. DFO will provide a report summarizing how the management system addresses issues regarding aboriginal and treaty rights for the sockeye fisheries.
DFO submitted a document describing their commitment to “compliance with all legal and most of the customary rights of First Nation peoples that are impacted by the fishery.” The goal is to manage fisheries so that, after conservation needs are met, First Nations’ FSC needs will have first priority in salmon allocation. Opportunities for involvement in the management and planning of the fishery will be provided through bilateral, sub-regional, and regional consultation processes. These processes will include opportunities for sharing technical information. Although the condition has been closed, it remains to be seen if the First Nations themselves agree that the objective has been achieved.Read Less