Lower Cook Inlet
Volume data of 2,772 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 Lower Cook Inlet (LCI) fishery is located south of Anchorage and the Upper Cook Inlet fishery and west of Prince William Sound. The fishery targets sockeye, pink and chum salmon and is relatively small. There are 3 escapement goals for Chinook, 17 for pink, 8 for sockeye, and 12 for chum salmon, which were met in most recent years. There are no stocks of concern in Lower Cook Inlet. Hatchery production has been important in LCI since the 1980s and has contributed up to 90% of the harvest in some years. However, production has declined in recent years for a variety of reasons, including the inability to use Tustamena Lake sockeye as an egg source. Pink salmon production was restarted in 2012 at the Tutka Bay Lagoon Hatchery with the release of 11 million fry.
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 Alaska salmon fisheries were re-certified for a second time in November 2013, and the first surveillance audit will take place in 2014.
The 2013 Public Certification Report for the Alaska salmon fisheries was released on November 12, 2013. No conditions were placed on the Lower Cook Inlet salmon fishery.
An Action Plan outlining timelines and activities that would be taken to address conditions (fishery improvement targets) was written by the Client, approved by the assessment team, and included in the assessment report. As no conditions were placed on the Lower Cook Inlet UoC, it was not included in the Action Plan.