The 2012 MSC Certification Report described three issues in the assessment that required special attention:
- Fishery reference points – The current target reference point (escapement goal) was revised downward in the early 2000s based on data showing the productivity of the stock had increased after 1995 due to favorable environmental conditions. This target reference point is based on limited years and ranges of escapement data and may result in reduced fishery yields if no adjustments are made for possible shifts in environmental conditions. The reference points may also be inadequate for maintaining the productivity of all stock components.
- Information for supporting the harvest strategy – Catch estimates for all sources of fishing mortality need to be quantified to improve the harvest strategy.
- Fishery information – The fishery and its management system are subject to internal review, but fishery information (including a research plan) is not regularly provided, limiting opportunities for external review.
The assessment team identified 9 conditions for continued certification of the fishery, and the Client submitted an Action Plan to meet these conditions.
Condition 1: Demonstrate that management reference points will help maintain the diversity and reproductive output of wild sockeye salmon stock components.
The reference points used to determine escapement goals are based on limited years of escapement information and have resulted in heavy exploitation rates (ranging from about 67-88%), which may lower sockeye abundances if no adjustments are made for possible shifts in environmental conditions.Read More
The reference points may also be inadequate for maintaining the productivity of all stock components. The objective is to develop and implement a plan for re-assessment of Ozernaya River sockeye escapement goals using information collected through 2012, including data from especially large escapements in 2003 and 2007. The Client will work with KamchatNIRO to estimate the relationship between the number of spawners and the number of recruits and set an escapement goal that will help maintain sockeye abundances. The analysis will also consider measures for preserving the timing and spatial distribution of stock components and account for uncertainty associated with changing climate conditions.
The Client has contracted KamchatNIRO to provide technical expertise for meeting this condition.Read Less
Condition 2: Collect information on all fishery catches to support the harvest strategy.
The objective is to estimate catches for all sources of fishing mortality on Ozernaya River sockeye to improve the harvest strategy.Read More
There is already good information on commercial harvests in the Ozernaya River and nearby marine areas, but catch estimates for the offshore driftnet fishery and illegal freshwater harvest are lacking. The Client will work with KamchatNIRO to compile annual estimates of historic and current driftnet fishery harvest. Historical information on illegal harvests will be gathered as well, and the Client will continue an independent observer program started in 2011 with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the Wild Salmon Center (WSC) for recording data on poaching activity observed by independent and government patrols. Poaching logbooks will include dates, locations, and estimates of illegal harvest.
The Client has contracted KamchatNIRO to provide technical expertise and has started collecting the desired information. They have sent letters to the Kamchatka Federal Police Department and the Kamchatka branch of the Russian Federal Fisheries Agency requesting data about illegal harvest. In addition, WWF and WSC have agreed to work with the Client on this issue, and a WSC expert spent a month on the Ozernaya River assisting fishers with logbook use.Read Less
Condition 3: Assess fishery impacts on retained species.
The objective is to collect sufficient information on retained species in the fishery, including pink salmon and char, to estimate fishery impacts on their local populations.Read More
The Client will work with KamchatNIRO to estimate relative abundances of retained species from 2001 to the present, assess the population status of these species, and determine any risks from the Ozernaya sockeye fishery. This information will be summarized in a report.
The Client has contracted KamchatNIRO to provide technical expertise for meeting this condition. Bycatch estimates from independent observers would be ideal, but currently the only available bycatch data are from catch records kept by the Client since 2009. The Client will continue to collect bycatch data and present them to KamchatNIRO.Read Less
Condition 4: Protect endangered, threatened, or protected (ETP) species from fishery impacts.
The objective is to demonstrate that the fishery does not cause significant negative impacts on ETP species.Read More
Seals are the only mammal regularly observed encountering fishing gear in coastal areas, as they enter trap nets to eat the enclosed fish. Although the nets do not harm seals directly, fishers regard the seals as a nuisance and occasionally shoot near or at them. Pacific seagulls may also fly near the fishing gear and be potentially affected by gunshots. The Client will prohibit firearms on their fishing boats and ban the use of firearms to scare, injure, or kill marine mammals and birds. The Client will also work with an independent third party to verify that the prohibition is implemented and working.
No update.Read Less
Condition 5: Estimate fishery impacts on ETP species.
The objective is to quantitatively estimate fishery-related mortality and impacts on ETP species.Read More
Quantitative estimates are probably unobtainable for rarer ETP species such as Steller sea lions and some marine mammals, as fishery encounters seldom occur. However, interactions with seals are more common. The Client will work with KamchatNIRO or other experts to estimate historical and current abundances for seals and sea lions, and compare abundance trends between the Ozernaya River area and other regions that have few human impacts. If abundances are decreasing faster in the Ozernaya area relative to the other regions, there may be evidence for fishery impacts on seals and sea lions. A report describing the analysis will be submitted.
The Client has requested information from KamchatNIRO on seals and sea lions in the Ozernaya River mouth. Some historical data exist and will be shared with the Client upon signing of a contract with KamchatNIRO. KamchatNIRO will also provide technical expertise for meeting this condition.Read Less
Condition 6: Assess fishery impacts on habitat.
The objective is to identify and quantify any fishery impacts on habitat.Read More
The Client will work with Scannex, a Russian remote sensing company, or Google maps and WWF and WSC to trace development of man-made structures in the Ozernaya River mouth area using satellite imagery. The Client will also hire a contract expert or work with KamchatNIRO to establish a baseline habitat profile of the river mouth that includes information on the channel type, river topography, and areas that may be used by adult salmon and juveniles. Annual work activities that take place in the freshwater system, the work periods, and the extent of affected areas should be documented.
No updateRead Less
Condition 7: Demonstrate general compliance with fishery regulations.
There is some uncertainty regarding the levels of fishery compliance with marine mammal protection regulations and geographic fishing boundaries, and the objective is to show that there is no systematic noncompliance.Read More
The Client will work with Scannex or Google maps and WWF and WSC to obtain satellite imagery of the coastal fishing area, to check that trap nets are operated within allocated boundaries. Video of some fishing areas will be recorded continuously during the fishing season, and a third-party expert will view the footage to verify legality of in-river fishing operations. An independent observer program for monitoring illegal, unreported, and unregulated fisheries will be continued. The Client will prohibit firearms on their fishing boats and ban the use of firearms to scare, injure, or kill marine mammals and birds. The Client will also work with an independent third party to verify that the prohibition is implemented and working.
The Client has contracted KamchatNIRO to provide technical expertise, and WWF and WSC have agreed to work with the Client.Read Less
Condition 8: Provide a research plan.
The Client must provide a research plan that describes a strategic approach for conducting research on Ozernaya River sockeye and related fisheries, retained species, and bycatch species.Read More
The plan will include work conducted by the research station at Kuril Lake. A research program was approved by the Federal Agency for Fisheries in 2007, titled “Far Eastern Basin program of complex investigation of Pacific salmon for period 2007‐2012”. This program addresses information needs for effective fishery management, but the plans have not been provided.
The Client has contracted KamchatNIRO to provide technical expertise for creating one and five-year research plans.Read Less
Condition 9: Provide annual sockeye run and fishery monitoring and evaluation information.
The objective is to establish an effective approach for providing annual fishery management information that can be reviewed by external parties.Read More
Although the management system is subject to regular internal review, opportunities for external review are limited by the availability of information. For instance, data on run size, harvest by time and area, fishery management actions, and escapement are not typically reported outside of the management system but should be provided.
The Client will request fishery information from KamchatNIRO and set up a contract with the agency for providing this information annually. KamchatNIRO will also provide technical expertise to assist with meeting this condition.Read Less