Volume data of 678 metric tons is an annual average from 2002 – 2011. NPAFC provided catch volumes for the entire Arctic-Yukon-Kuskokwim (AYK) region, and the catch proportion for each AYK fishery was estimated using catches and fish weights from ADF&G Area Management reports (data from 2008-2012).
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 Kotzebue District is part of the Arctic-Yukon-Kuskokwim management area and includes all waters from Cape Prince of Wales to Point Hope. This remote region supports the northernmost commercial fishery in Alaska. Chum is the most abundant salmon species, though other salmon species occur in small numbers. Commercial harvests are dependent on chum abundance and the presence of a buyer. Small numbers of other salmonid species, including Dolly Varden char and sheefish, are captured for personal use and documented on fish tickets.
Primary fishery management objectives are to provide adequate chum salmon spawning escapements for sustaining future runs and providing subsistence needs. Spawning escapement goals were developed in 2007 for five rivers based on an analysis of historical harvests and spawning escapements. In recent years, the goals have been met when escapement surveys took place, but poor weather and water clarity often interfere with the surveys. Chum abundance has recently rebounded from low levels in the 1990s and 2000s. There are no stocks of concern in Kotzebue, and currently there is no hatchery production.
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 Public Certification Report for the Alaska salmon fisheries was released on November 12, 2013. No conditions (fishery improvement targets) were placed on the Alaska Peninsula/Aleutian Islands salmon fishery.
An Action Plan outlining timelines and activities that would be taken to address conditions was written by the Client, approved by the assessment team, and included in the assessment report. As no conditions were placed on the Kotzebue UoC, it was not included in the Action Plan.