The 2013 MSC Public Certification Report identified one issue in the Copper/Bering fishery that required special attention:
- Straying of hatchery sockeye and effects on wild stocks – Numerous hatchery sockeye are released in the watershed, but little information is available to evaluate whether strays impact wild sockeye salmon.
A single condition for improving the fishery was included in the Client Action Plan written by PSVOA. The Action Plan outlines timelines and activities that will be taken to address the condition, and it was approved by the assessment team prior to release of the Public Certification Report.
Condition 4: Evaluate hatchery sockeye straying in the Copper River and ensure wild salmon are not adversely affected.
This condition is related to Condition 29 of the 2007 recertification in which ADF&G was to “Conduct a review of the Gulkana sockeye hatchery program with emphasis on potential impacts to wild stocks.”Read More
ADF&G has taken a somewhat precautionary stance by not approving requests for increased hatchery sockeye production and new stocking locations, but no comprehensive studies have been conducted on the effects of the Gulkana Hatchery program on wild stocks, either with regard to straying or genetic impacts. Using existing information available from ADF&G and the Prince William Sound Aquaculture Corporation, PSVOA will prepare a review of the Gulkana Hatchery, including an examination of potential impacts of hatchery sockeye on wild stocks. A key metric for evaluating impact is the proportion of hatchery sockeye salmon on the spawning grounds. They will also implement a plan for achieving a low level of hatchery fish in the spawning escapement and demonstrate the plan’s efficacy.