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Kuskokwim

Last Update: 11/1/2013
For current sustainability information on this fishery visit the Marine Stewardship Council website.
Start Date: 
01/1999
Sustainability ProgressAction Progress
Gear: 
Certification Status: 
Volume: 
1-5k

Volume data of 1,423 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).

For current sustainability information on this fishery visit the Marine Stewardship Council website.

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 Kuskokwim Management Area (KMA) is part of the Arctic-Yukon-Kuskokwim (AYK) Region and includes the Kuskokwim River and Kuskokwim Bay drainages of the Bering Sea coast. The KMA includes three active commercial fishing districts (Districts 1, 4, 5), each managed as an independent fishery. Subsistence fishing is highly important to people throughout the KMA (average of catch of 197,000 salmon per year, from 2003-2007), and the KMA has the largest Chinook subsistence fishery in Alaska. There are no salmon hatcheries in the KMA.

ADF&G manages KMA commercial fisheries to achieve spawning escapement goals in a number of tributaries. Overall, there are 14 goals for Chinook salmon, 4 each for chum and sockeye salmon, and 3 for coho salmon.  Escapement goals were mostly achieved from 2007-2012 for chum, coho, and sockeye, but not for ten of the monitored KMA Chinook stocks from 2008-2012. Only two Chinook stocks consistently met their escapement goals during that period. ADF&G recently reconstructed the drainage-wide abundances of Chinook salmon in the Kuskokwim River from 1976 to present and used the modelled data to develop a basin-wide escapement goal of 65,000 to 120,000 Chinook salmon. The new goal was reviewed and approved by external experts, who agreed that the previous goals were too high. Under the new drainage-wide goal, historical escapements would have been achieved or exceeded in all but two years (1986 and 2010). The basin-wide goal was used to modify or eliminate Chinook escapement goals in five tributaries, and a management plan was developed and approved by the Board of Fisheries in January 2013 for implementation of the new goals.

Stakeholders:

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

Assessment
November, 2013

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 Kuskokwim 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 Kuskokwim UoC, it was not included in the Action Plan.

Update
November, 2013

The Alaska salmon fisheries were re-certified for a second time in November 2013, and the first surveillance audit will take place in 2014.

2013 Assessment - Log in or register to access this file.
2013 Action Plan - Log in or register to access this file.
Contacts: 
Intertek Moody Marine
Purse Seine Vessel Owners’ Association
Contact us if you have information regarding this fishery improvement project.