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2012 Assessment

June, 2012

The 2012 MSC Certification Report described three issues in the assessment that required special attention:

  1. Adequacy of escapement goals – Escapement goals are based on achieving a specific density of adult salmon in freshwater spawning areas. However, escapements are monitored in only some rivers, and there is some uncertainty about how well the stock status of monitored rivers corresponds to the stock status of non-monitored rivers.
  2. Fishery impacts on depleted and protected species – Catch estimates are needed to determine fishery impacts on summer chum salmon, cherry salmon, green sturgeon, Kaluga sturgeon, and Sakhalin taimen, which are depleted or protected in this region.
  3. Compliance with fishery regulations – Illegal fishing is a substantial problem in this fishery, and measures should be taken to improve regulation enforcement and compliance.

The assessment team identified 8 conditions for continued certification of the fishery, and the Client submitted an Action Plan to meet these conditions. 

Condition 1: Show that the harvest management strategy is appropriate and effective

The objective is to demonstrate that the current management strategy of achieving a specific spawning density (2 adults per pink salmon per square meter of spawning habitat) is appropriate and effective for maintaining sustainable harvest rates.  

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Available data suggests that the management strategy is effective in achieving this target during odd years when runs are typically large but it is not clear whether escapement targets are met during even years when runs are much lower. In addition, the justification for the escapement target has not been provided to date.  The data and methods used to justify this escapement goal will be provided, and if adequate justification is lacking, the Client will develop a research plan to determine optimal escapements for each major river in the certification unit. To demonstrate the effectiveness of the management strategy, the fishing companies will record fishery catches every five days during the fishing season. The use of in-river fishing traps (RUZs) is controversial because of their potential impacts on wild salmon runs. The Clients have opposed the use of in-river traps in their regions, but if the use of this gear is allowed data will be provided (such as daily catch, river conditions, and escapement upstream) to evaluate their impact on wild salmon populations.

Update:

None.

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Timeline: 
present plan by the first surveillance audit in 2013, demonstrate plan implementation by the second audit in 2014, meet condition by the third audit in 2015
Priority: 
High
Status: 
Not started
Relevant Performance Indicator: 

Condition 2: Estimate all sources of fishing mortality to improve the harvest strategy

The objective is to estimate catches from all sources of fishing mortality to improve the harvest strategy.

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In the NE Sakhalin fishery, information is lacking on illegal freshwater harvest of pink salmon. The Client will work with Sakhalin Environment Watch and Sakhalin State University to gather and analyze information on illegal harvests from the press, the regional enforcement agency (SKTU), the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Prosecutor’s office, and other groups. Non-governmental organizations will be involved with the analysis as well, since they operate independently of the government and fishing companies and will help ensure that data are accurate. The Client will work with SakhNIRO and SakhRybVod to estimate illegal salmon catches on the entire stock and its major stock components.

Update:

None.

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Timeline: 
present plan by the first surveillance audit in 2013, demonstrate plan implementation by the second audit in 2014, meet condition by the third audit in 2015
Priority: 
High
Status: 
Not started
Relevant Performance Indicator: 

Condition 3: Conduct adequate assessment of the stock status

The objective is to demonstrate that salmon abundances in the monitored index rivers correspond with abundances in other, non-index rivers.

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This is important because several of the larger salmon producing systems (Tym River in the Nogliki District, Langeri River in the Smirnykh District) are not currently monitored. The Client will work with SakhRybVod and SakhNIRO to monitor escapements into a representative array of non-index rivers, and compare with escapement data from monitored index streams. This analysis will assess whether the index streams are representative of escapements into other streams in the certification units. The analysis plan also includes monitoring of pink salmon production at the Pilenga salmon hatchery and any new pink salmon hatcheries that may be constructed in the future.

Update:

None.

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Timeline: 
present plan by the first surveillance audit in 2013, demonstrate plan implementation by the second audit in 2014, meet condition by the fourth audit in 2016
Priority: 
High
Status: 
Not started
Relevant Performance Indicator: 

Condition 4: Demonstrate that the fishery does not have significant negative impacts on retained species

The objective is to show that the NE Sakhalin pink salmon fishery does not hinder the recovery of depleted summer run chum salmon populations.

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The Client will work with SakhRybVod and SakhNIRO to implement a plan for assessing the catch and stock status of summer and fall run chum salmon in NE Sakhalin. Chum catches for the Nogliki and Smirnykh districts will be recorded every 5 to 10 days. The possibility of marking hatchery-produced chum will also be investigated, which would allow for estimation of the proportion of hatchery chum in wild spawning areas.

Update:

None.

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Timeline: 
present plan by the first surveillance audit in 2013, demonstrate plan implementation by the second audit in 2014, meet condition by the fourth audit in 2016
Priority: 
High
Status: 
Not started
Relevant Performance Indicator: 

Condition 5: Evaluate fishery impacts on retained species

Although commercial harvests of some retained species (chum salmon, flatfish) are quantified, catches kept for personal use are not reported, particularly for species such as cherry salmon, coho salmon and char.

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The objective is to collect sufficient data on all retained species to assess fishery impacts upon them. A monitoring protocol that involves recording the number of species caught, their sex (where visual determination of sex is possible), and fish size will be used. This protocol was successfully implemented in 2010 and was continued in 2011. The Client will consult with SakhNIRO and TINRO to identify and analyze any fishery impacts, which will be provided to the audit team and any other interested parties. 

Update:

None.

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Timeline: 
present plan by the first surveillance audit in 2013, demonstrate plan implementation by the second audit in 2014, meet condition by the fourth audit in 2016
Priority: 
Medium
Status: 
Not started
Relevant Performance Indicator: 

Condition 6: Evaluate fishery impacts on endangered, threatened, protected (ETP) species

The objective is to estimate fishery impacts on ETP species, especially Sakhalin taimen, green sturgeon, and Kaluga sturgeon.

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The Client will work with SakhNIRO and/or the Institute of General Genetics to develop an independent observer program that will estimate fishery mortality of ETP species. If funds are available and the effectiveness and cost of the program are deemed adequate, the observer program will be implemented. Otherwise, alternative plans will be considered. One such alternative would be to mark ETP species individuals to assess overlap in outmigration timing with the salmon fishing season. Another alternative would be to conduct annual taimen spawning surveys in NE Sakhalin rivers. All data regarding the population status of Sakhalin taimen and other ETP species will be made publically available, and any threats from hatchery activities to taimen populations will be described. An ongoing taimen monitoring program has been running for three years, and a report on that program will be provided at the first surveillance audit.

Update:

None.

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Timeline: 
present plan by the first surveillance audit in 2013, provide estimates of impacts annually thereafter
Priority: 
High
Status: 
Not started
Relevant Performance Indicator: 

Condition 7: Improve regulation enforcement and compliance

Illegal fishing is a substantial problem in this fishery, and the objective is to develop a plan to improve regulation enforcement and compliance.

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The Client will work with other fishing companies to cooperatively police the fishery, in addition to documenting official data on violations of regulations. Efforts will be made to assess how official reports of illegal fishing correspond to actual occurrences. After analyzing data on illegal fishing and evaluating the effectiveness of enforcement, the Client will suggest options for improving compliance. The Client will also work with non-governmental organizations to monitor compliance with fishing gear regulations using satellite imagery.

Update:

None.

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Timeline: 
present plan by the first surveillance audit in 2013, demonstrate plan implementation by the second audit in 2014, meet condition by the third audit in 2015
Priority: 
High
Status: 
Not started
Relevant Performance Indicator: 

Condition 8: Develop and provide a research plan

A research program entitled “Far Eastern Basin program of complex investigation of Pacific salmon for period 2007-2012” was approved by the Federal Agency for Fisheries in 2007.

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This program is supposed to collect all information necessary for effective fisheries management, but a copy of the plan was not provided to the assessment team. The objective is to develop a research plan to obtain information required for effective and sustainable fishery management. The plan will describe research goals and priorities for topics such as escapement goals and fishery impacts on bycatch and ETP species, which have already been identified as areas needing improvement. Depending on nature of the research and available funding, different elements of the research plan will be carried out by the Client or by the Client in collaboration with fishing companies, non-governmental organizations, or government agencies.

Update:

None.

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Timeline: 
present plan by the first surveillance audit in 2013
Priority: 
Medium
Status: 
Not started
Relevant Performance Indicator: 
2012 Assessment - Log in or register to access this file.
2012 Action Plan - Log in or register to access this file.