Volume data of 42,794 metric tons is the annual average catch from 2002 – 2011 according to NPAFC.
The Alaska salmon fisheries were some of the earliest fisheries to receive MSC certification, being first certified in December 2000. Since then, the fisheries were re-certified in October 2007 and again in November 2013. Four conservation groups filed an objection to the most recent certification effort, citing insufficient evaluation of harvest rates on depleted, non-Alaskan salmon stocks intercepted in Southeast Alaska fisheries. However, an independent adjudicator dismissed the objection. The Units of Certification (UoCs; sub-components of the fishery that are individually evaluated) have varied among assessments, with the most recent assessment defining 14 units based on geographic area. Thirteen of the units were scored to pass certification, but the Prince William Sound (PWS) UoC is still under assessment, likely due to issues regarding hatchery production and the potential impacts on local wild stocks. Indeed, one of the most important fishery concerns is the accelerating release of hatchery pink and chum in Kodiak, PWS and Southeast Alaska (SEAK). Another issue is that some fisheries may affect stocks with low abundances that are designated as ‘stocks of concern,’ which are specified as ‘yield concern’ (escapement goals met but expected yields not met) or ‘management concern’ (escapement goals not met). Although the Alaska salmon fisheries benefit from the availability of high quality spawning habitat and a management system that closely monitors catches and escapements, there are still improvements to be made.
The Kodiak salmon fishery is located in the Kodiak Island archipelago and the southeastern portion of the Alaska Peninsula extending from Cook Inlet to the Chignik management area. All five species of Pacific salmon are targeted by a mixture of purse seine, beach seine, and set gill net fisheries. Hatcheries at Pillar Creek and Kitoi Bay produce all five species, with the majority of effort spent on pink, chum and sockeye salmon. The long term plan is to increase hatchery production to equal or exceed natural production in the Kodiak Management Area (KMA). ADF&G recently evaluated Kodiak’s hatchery management plans and consistency with statewide policies, and made recommendations to address deficiencies. One recommendation was to mark hatchery releases as a means to evaluate management assumptions.
The fishery is managed to achieve escapement goals. There are 2 goals for Chinook, 4 for coho, 3 for pink, 14 for sockeye, and 3 for chum salmon. During the past 9 years, escapement goals were mostly met for sockeye, chum, pink, and coho. However, Chinook salmon failed to meet the lower bound of the escapement goal in 5 of 8 years in the Ayakulik River and in 6 of 9 years in the Karluk River. This reportedly reflects a broad regional decline in Chinook productivity in the marine environment across south-central Alaska. Management is addressing the issue by prohibiting retention of Chinook in the commercial fishery and implementing retention closures in the sportfish fishery. Karluk River Chinook is designated a “stock of management concern,” and a recovery plan is in development. There are no other stocks of concern in KMA.
Purse Seine Vessels Owners Association (PSVOA; fishery client), Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G), Wild Salmon Center, Raincoast Conservation Foundation, Watershed Watch Salmon Society, David Suzuki Foundation, SkeenaWild Conservation Trust, Wild Fish Conservancy, American Bird Conservancy, Sustainable Fisheries Partnerships, Pacific Salmon Foundation, World Wildlife Fund, Ecotrust, University of Alaska Fairbanks
Native Corporations involved in Alaska salmon fisheries:
Arctic Slope Native Association, Bering Straits Association, Northwest Alaska Native Association, Association of Village Council Presidents, Tanana Chiefs’ Conference, Cook Inlet Association, Bristol Bay Native Association, Aleut League, Chugach Native Association, Tlingit-Haida Central Council, Kodiak Area Native Association, Copper River Native Association
The 2013 MSC Public Certification Report identified one issue in the Kodiak fishery that required special attention: