2013 Annual Review
The audit team conducted site visits for the fourth annual surveillance in Sakhalin and Iturup Island in July and August, 2013. At the close of this audit, seven conditions were closed (completed), and one remained open and on schedule. Some concerns about the fishery have not yet been fully addressed and will be subject to continued monitoring and mitigation:
- Impacts of two recently constructed chum hatcheries ̶ Two chum salmon hatcheries were constructed following the 2009 certification, and straying rates of their chum into wild spawning areas need to be assessed. The hatcheries have been marking their fish, but marked fish won’t start being sampled until 2014 for the Olya Bay hatchery and 2016 for the Kitovyy hatchery.
- Hatchery impacts on wild beach-spawning chum ̶ A 2011 study found that hatchery-produced river-spawning chum were straying into Lebedinoe Lake and interbreeding with a rare wild beach-spawning chum population, altering its genetic population structure . No marked hatchery fish were found in the lake in 2012. However, only 12% of the 73 million chum released from the nearby Kurilsk hatchery in 2009 (which first returned as adults in 2012) were marked, and only 54 adults were sampled from the lake in 2012. Therefore the odds of finding a marked fish were small. Both genetic research and sampling for hatchery fish will continue so that impacts of hatchery fish on the wild population can be monitored. Fishery and hatchery managers are also considering ways to limit the numbers of hatchery fish entering Lebedinoe Lake.
The Action Plan outlining timelines and activities for addressing the remaining condition was updated based on new information in 2013.
Condition 1: Estimate proportions of hatchery-origin fish in wild spawning rivers.
The objective is to estimate proportions of hatchery-origin chum and pink salmon in rivers where wild fish spawn.Read More
This will be accomplished by marking hatchery fish for a minimum of 3 brood years, and then sampling adults for marks in spawning areas when they return to freshwater as adults. Adults will be sampled at various periods during the run, and sampling effort should be widely distributed to establish a geographic relationship between the proportion of hatchery fish and distance from hatchery release locations.
Marking of hatchery salmon was initiated in 2008 and has continued every year since. Although the original action plan suggested marking a minimum of 3 brood years, the surveillance team changed their recommendation to a minimum of 5 brood years so that information could be collected from two hatcheries that were constructed after the original assessment. J.S.C. Gidrostroy agreed to continue marking hatchery production. Sampling of adults began in 2010, when marked adults began returning. Three years of partial sampling results have been published, and they indicate that there are limited hatchery contributions to wild pink salmon populations. Marked chum salmon started returning in 2012, and about 32% of chum sampled in 10 systems (including bays, river mouths, river systems, lakes) were produced at the Reydova and Kurilsky hatcheries. Marking and sampling are supposed to continue so that more data, especially for chum, can be collected.
Although the condition has been closed, analysis of the proportion of hatchery chum in wild spawning areas was limited and did not describe how the proportion changed with proximity to hatcheries. In addition, data collected thus far indicate that the hatchery chum straying may be significant, highlighting a need for remedies to reduce straying.Read Less
Condition 2: Demonstrate that hatchery activities have no negative impacts on wild salmon populations.
The objective is to establish goals for ensuring that hatchery fish do not have adverse effects on wild stocks in management units which include both natural-origin and hatchery-origin fish.Read More
Hatchery marking and sampling programs will be used to monitor the proportions of enhanced and wild fish in both the spawning escapement and hatchery broodstock. These proportions are being estimated by the Gidrostroy hatchery evaluation plan implemented under Condition 1, and remedies for reducing adverse effects of hatchery fish on the wild stock will be developed based on the estimates.
Initial sampling results for pink salmon indicate that hatchery contributions to wild populations are limited. The hatchery broodstock includes some naturally-produced pink salmon, which may reduce potential negative effects of domestication. Substantial numbers of hatchery-origin fish spawn naturally in rivers with hatcheries, whereas hatchery-origin pink salmon comprise a relatively small fraction of naturally-spawning fish in rivers that are not connected to rivers with hatcheries. Proportions of hatchery-origin fish decrease with distance from mouths of rivers with hatcheries.
Hatchery impacts on wild chum salmon stocks are just starting to be assessed because chum salmon have a longer life cycle than pink salmon, and sampling for marked adults started in 2012. Preliminary results indicated that hatchery-origin fish- accounted for 32% of the naturally spawning chum salmon in 10 systems (including bays, river mouths, river systems, lakes).. In addition, a genetic study found that large releases of chum salmon from the Kurilsk hatchery have swamped a small, genetically distinct beach-type chum salmon population spawning in nearby Lebedinoe Lake, although results were not definitive due to limited sample sizes and sampling dates. J.S.C. Gidrostroy was directed to develop an action plan to address the issue, and they have drafted an interim plan and started assessing the impact of the hatchery program on Lebedinoe Lake beach spawners. However, the interim plan did not include remedial actions for preventing further impacts to beach spawning chum. This condition will remain open into the next re-certification period as hatchery risks on wild populations have not been fully evaluated, and a precautionary strategy is lacking. The Client will need to address these concerns for the next assessment.Read Less
Condition 3a: Assess the origin of chum and pink salmon caught in the fishery.
The objective is to develop and implement a fishery sampling plan to determine the origins of pink and chum salmon contributing to the Iturup fishery, using commonly available stock identification tools.Read More
For chum salmon, genetic stock identification is appropriate because some Iturup and Sakhalin stocks are genetically distinct (Aniva Bay hatchery, Nayba River and Kunashir Island). Stock identification by otolith marking can be used for both chum and pink salmon.
Genetic data for chum salmon confirm that most of the Gidrostroy chum harvest is of local origin, although 3 chum salmon with Hokkaido hatchery marks were sampled in the Iturup commercial fishery in 2012. Fish marking is conducted at the Gidrostroy hatcheries, and results to date suggest that hatchery-origin pink salmon show relatively high homing fidelity to their natal areas. However, there is some uncertainty because not all hatchery-origin fish are marked, which reduces the ability to accurately to identify the origin of sampled individuals, particularly those from non-local stocks or from hatcheries (e.g. Sakhalin and Kunashir Islands) that do not mark their fish. The reliability of these methods should increase as additional hatcheries, including some on Sakhalin, implement marking programs.Read Less
Condition 3b: Estimate hatchery contributions to fishery catches.
The objective is to estimate hatchery contributions to total annual harvests of pink and chum salmon by marking hatchery fish and sampling the fishery catch for marked fish.Read More
Condition 3b is partially addressed by activities conducted under Condition 1, specifically hatchery marking for a minimum of 3 brood years.
Although the original action plan suggested marking a minimum of 3 brood years, the surveillance team recommended marking a minimum of 5 brood years so that information could be collected from two hatcheries that were constructed following the original assessment. The proportion of hatchery pink salmon in the commercial harvest has been estimated since 2011, but results from chum salmon are just beginning to be collected. This condition was closed since hatchery marking and catch sampling programs have been implemented and will continue for the next several years.Read Less
Condition 4: Establish indicators of abundance for significant non-target species.
The Client will work with the Russian government to identify significant non-target species and conduct research to determine appropriate fishery-independent indicators of their spawning abundances.Read More
A bycatch assessment was initiated with the regional scientific agency (SakhNIRO), and sampling was conducted daily at a processing plant. Non-target fish were identified to species, measured for length and weight, and sampled for otoliths to determine fish ages. Sampling results for 2009 indicate that bycatch is minimal, such that non-target species are likely caught in insufficient numbers to substantially affect local population sizes. SakhNIRO also surveyed freshwater fauna in the area to establish environmental baseline conditions of species’ distributions and abundances. A final report is in preparation and will be published on the J.S.C. Gidrostroy website, and the assessment team agreed that the information was adequate for understanding the extent of bycatch in the Iturup salmon fisheries.Read Less
Condition 5: Assess potential ecosystem risks due to the fishery.
The objective is to conduct meetings to determine ecosystem risks in the fisheries. Meetings will be open to significant stakeholders and attended by government or agency personnel, as well as client company personnel.Read More
A workshop was organized in 2011 to identify and consider potential ecosystem risks in the fishery. Meetings were then held in areas with substantial stakeholder engagement, including Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, Sakhalin Island, Russia, and Portland, Oregon USA. The meetings focused on the main components of the fishery, including target species, non-target species (with a special emphasis on ETP species), habitat impacts, and the ecological community. Measurable metrics of each of the main components were identified. Local stakeholders had few major concerns about ecological impacts of the fishery, but biologists from the Wild Salmon Center expressed concerns that warrant further investigation. Significant information related to this condition has also been provided including preliminary hatchery mark sampling, bycatch assessments, and the regional survey of the freshwater fauna being conducted by the regional governmental scientific agency. This information along with the workshop proceedings were deemed sufficient to close this condition.Read Less
Condition 7: Provide the research plan for the fishery each year.
The Client will work with the federal government to identify research needed to understand the ecosystem impacts of salmon fishing on Iturup Island and develop an implementation plan for those research needs.Read More
The Client must publicly provide the research plan each year. The plan shall detail what research (if any) may be needed to address ecosystem impacts and shall list the research to be conducted by either the government or the Client.
The fishery website established by J.S.C. Gidrostroy (http://www.gidrostroymsc.com/) includes a list of scientific projects funded by the Client. This list has been updated with projects current through 2014, and includes many documents regarding enhancement, escapement, research and stakeholder meetings. Research investigating the presence of hatchery chum in lakes is underway. The condition was closed as the Client has made research plans and results available to the public.Read Less
Condition 6: Estimate the proportion of wild-origin fish used for hatchery broodstock.
The objective is to estimate proportions of wild-origin chum and pink in the hatchery broodstock and to avoid negative effects of domestication by ensuring adequate numbers of natural-origin fish are used as broodstock each year.Read More
This will be accomplished by marking hatchery fish and sampling the broodstock to determine the percent of non-hatchery fish.
Although the original action plan suggested marking a minimum of 3 brood years, the surveillance team recommended marking a minimum of 5 brood years so that information could be collected from two hatcheries that were constructed following the original assessment. Information collected thus far indicates that the proportion of wild pink salmon used in the hatchery broodstock is relatively high early in the season but decreases as the spawning season progresses. To counter this trend, hatchery operators should consider increasing the number of wild fish used in the broodstock later in the season. Information on chum salmon is incomplete but suggests that the proportion of hatchery fish in the brood stock may be about 30% (see http://gidrostroymsc.com/uploads/Conclusions_of_Akinicheva_ENG.pdf). The assessment team determined that the Client made adequate progress to close this condition, although marking and sampling will continue into the next certification period.Read Less
Condition 8: Provide annual post-season monitoring reports.
The Client will develop and implement an effective system for distribution of annual post-season monitoring reports to the certification surveillance team.Read More
Report information may include run size forecasts and adopted total allowable catches, numbers of fish harvested by species (target and non-target), estimated escapements for pink and chum salmon by population, broodstock and juvenile production numbers by hatchery and species, biological characteristics of the catch and escapement, a summary of recent annual averages and trends, a list of research activities for that year, and descriptions of any unique environmental or run conditions for that year’s fishery. Reports commissioned by J.S.C. Gidrostroy will be made publicly available on the website http://www.gidrostroymsc.com/.
This condition was addressed by the J.S.C Gidrostroy website, which includes information on fishery background, management, hatcheries, escapements, and research in both Russian and English. Although there have sometimes been delays in posting information, the website was updated prior to publication of the fourth surveillance report. The website will continue to be updated through the next re-certification period.Read Less