2013 Annual Review
The audit team conducted the third annual surveillance site visit October 7-11, 2013 and published the surveillance report on January 20, 2014. Across all units of certification, 34 conditions were closed (completed), and 11 remained open and behind schedule. For the Nass unit, 1 condition was closed and 2 were open and behind schedule.
Condition 15: Estimate annual escapements for each of the target stocks in the Nass sockeye fisheries.
The objective is to obtain reliable escapement estimates for all target stocks harvested in the Nass sockeye salmon fishery.Read More
Although escapements have been regularly monitored for the Nass River and Meziadin sockeye stocks, annual escapement estimates were not available in recent years for most of the smaller stocks such as Bowser, Damdochax, and Kwinageese. Stock-specific escapements can be estimated using genetic samples collected at the Nisga’a fishwheel.
A Nass sockeye technical workshop was held in the spring of 2010, which led to analysis of all available genetic samples to estimate stock-specific escapements. The escapement monitoring program was also improved. The current program includes: 1) obtaining weekly genetic samples at the Nisga’a fishwheel, 2) operating a video counting fence on the Kwinageese River, 3) conducting visual surveys of Gingit and Brown Bear creeks, and 4) estimating fry abundance in Damdochax Lake using hydroacoustic methods.Read Less
Condition 16: Define limit reference points for each Nass sockeye conservation unit.
The objective is to define limit reference points (LRPs) or lower benchmarks for all Nass sockeye conservation units (CUs).Read More
LRPs are useful for assessing stock status and setting harvest guidelines. Although LRPs have been defined for the Nass River and Meziadin sockeye stocks, LRPs are lacking for smaller stocks such as Bowser, Damdochax, and Kwinageese. DFO will work cooperatively with First Nations to develop LRPs.
An aggregate LRP (100,000 sockeye) and TRP (200,000 sockeye) were defined for all Nass River sockeye CUs in the Nisga’a Fisheries Operational Guidelines. However, DFO stated that the aggregate LRP is 200,000 sockeye, and this discrepancy needs to be resolved. In addition, a technical report describing the derivation of reference points for each CU and for the Nass fishery aggregate needs to be provided.Read Less
Condition 23: Implement recovery plans for depleted chum salmon stocks that spawn in the Nass River or its tributaries.
The objective is to develop and implement recovery plans for depleted chum salmon stocks that spawn in the Nass watershed.Read More
Depleted stocks are defined as those that are below their limit reference point (LRP). Recovery plans must include procedures for: 1) determining the impacts of the existing fishery management system on the chum stocks and 2) decreasing incidental harvest rates, if necessary for facilitating stock recovery. LRPs and TRPs (limit and target reference points) are needed as metrics for setting harvest rates, especially as stock abundances change over time, and should be defined as part of the recovery strategy.
DFO developed a chum recovery plan that was reportedly reviewed by the Nisga’a Nation, and the plan states that hatchery impacts and habitat restoration projects will be evaluated. However, chum salmon LRPs and TRPs need to developed and described for each CU to close this condition, as they will be used to evaluate the efficacy of recovery efforts.Read Less