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April 2016 Full Update

May, 2016

Ocean Outcomes met with the fishery clients, the MRAG assessment team and WWF representatives in Kamchatka during March to review recent information provided for the MSC assessment of the West Kamchatka salmon fishery. Based on the information provided, all but one of the FIP work plan goals were considered “completed”. More information was needed to complete the remaining goal and the timeline was extended to allow time to get the information. The MRAG team indicated that their preliminary determination was that the fishery should be certified with six conditions. Ocean Outcomes worked with the clients to draft a Client Action Plan (CAP) to address the conditions. The MRAG team will draft an assessment report that will include the conditions and CAP which will be reviewed by the clients and submitted to peer review. Following peer review, the assessment team will make necessary edits and release a Public Comment Draft report. Barring unforeseen problems, the MRAG assessment team anticipates completing the certification process in July 2016. A revised assessment timeline should be posted on the MSC website soon.

Goal 1.1: Provide spawning escapement data for odd-year pink salmon.

Pink salmon have a distinct two-year life cycle which means that odd- and even-year stocks are essentially different populations.

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In Western Kamchatka, even-year pink salmon returns are typically much larger than odd-year returns. During the pre-assessment, an escapement goal was provided for even-year pink salmon in Western Kamchatka but not for odd-year pink salmon. It was not clear whether the management agency actively manages the fishery for pink salmon during odd-years. Documentation of target reference points and spawning escapements are needed to determine stock status. We recommend the following approach:

  1. Provide available pink salmon escapement data for each of the rivers over the past 15 years.

  2. If escapements have been trending down in odd years, conduct an analysis to determine the minimum level of escapement necessary for the long-term productivity of the population.

Update:

KamchatNIRO provided a report that included revised escapement goals for pink salmon stocks based on an analysis of spawner-recruit (the number of adults produced from parents that spawned two years previously) data. This information was more than sufficient to satisfy the intent of this goal.

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Timeline: 
February 2016
Priority: 
High
Status: 
Completed
Relevant Performance Indicator: 

Goal 1.2: Provide justification for escapement goals for chum and coho salmon.

Region-wide escapement goals were provided for Western Kamchatka coho and chum salmon during the pre-assessment.

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However, it was unclear why region-wide goals were appropriate, rather than river-specific goals. The clients included coho salmon returning to the Kol River in the MSC assessment but not those returning to other rivers. More information is needed to determine whether region-wide escapement goals are appropriate for these species. We recommend the following approach:

  1. Clarify what the escapement target is for chum salmon and explain why it is appropriate.

  2. Clarify what the escapement target is for coho salmon in the Kol River and explain why it is appropriate.

Update:

The report KamchatNIRO provided included revised escapement goals for chum and coho salmon stocks based on an analysis of spawner-recruit (the number of adults produced from parent escapements) data. This information was sufficient to satisfy the intent of this goal.

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Timeline: 
February 2016
Priority: 
Low
Status: 
Completed
Relevant Performance Indicator: 

Goal 1.3: Provide evidence to demonstrate that salmon stocks are healthy.

Very little salmon escapement data was provided during the pre-assessment.

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More information is needed to demonstrate that the stocks are not being overfished. We recommend the following action:

  1. Provide escapement data for each species relative to the specified escapement goal over the past 15 years.

Update:

The report KamchatNIRO provided included revised salmon escapement goals. However annual escapement data for the past 15 years was not provided in the report. The MSC assessment team noted that the information provided was sufficient to demonstrate that the stocks were healthy (Goal 1.3) but insufficient to meet an unconditional pass for Performance Indicator 1.2.4 (see Goal 1.6 update). 

 

 

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Timeline: 
February 2016
Priority: 
High
Status: 
Completed
Relevant Performance Indicator: 

Goal 1.4: Demonstrate that the management system is effective at achieving management objectives.

The current harvest strategy has been in place only since 2010 and has not been fully tested under a wide range of conditions.

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Evidence showing that the harvest strategy is achieving its objectives was not provided. We recommend the following actions:

  1. Describe in-season fishery management actions taken to meet management targets in the areas adjacent to the Ozernaya, Koshegochek, Golygina, Opala, Kol and Vorovskaya rivers during the past two years.

  2. Provide catch volumes of salmon and char, by year, species and fishing location (river or parcel) by Vityaz Avto and Delta for the past 15 years.

  3. Provide a table comparing the total catch quota for each species in the Ozernaya, Koshegochek, Golygina, Opala, Kol and Vorovskaya rivers over the past two years, with the total commercial catch in those areas.

Update:

The clients provided the information in the first two action items to the MSC Assessment team during the first April site visit. The report KamchatNIRO provided included additional information on the management strategy for salmon in the region, as well as detailed management actions over the past two years. The report also provided a table comparing the catch quota and commercial catch by species and river. The information provided was sufficient to address this goal. However the MSC assessment team has requested additional information needed to meet an unconditional pass for Performance Indicator 1.2.2. This will be specified in the Public Review Draft Report for the fishery.

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Timeline: 
April 15, 2015 (Actions 1 & 2), February 2016 (Action 3)
Priority: 
High
Status: 
Completed

Goal 1.5: Provide relevant information on all fishery removals for target stocks.

Although fishery harvest information is routinely collected, no catch information was provided during the pre-assessment.

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In addition, harvest data for these stocks in other fisheries (including the high seas driftnet fishery and illegal poaching fishery) were incomplete or not provided. This information is needed to assess exploitation rates and productivity of local stocks, and we recommend the following approach:

  1. Provide quantitative annual estimates of the illegal harvest by species in western Kamchatka from 2005 to present.

  2. Provide sport and indigenous fishery catches by species and year for the Ozernaya, Koshegochek, Golygina, Opala, Kol and Vorovskaya rivers.

Update:

The information KamchatNIRO provided included an historical analysis of the dynamics of illegal fishing in the region with estimates of the volume of average illegal harvests for time periods based on expert judgement. In addition the report included graphs showing sport and indigenous harvest as described in item 2 above. The information provided was sufficient to address this goal. However the MSC assessment team has requested additional information needed to meet an unconditional pass for Performance Indicator 1.2.3. This will be specified in the Public Review Draft Report for the fishery.

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Timeline: 
February 2016
Priority: 
Low
Status: 
Completed
Relevant Performance Indicator: 

Goal 1.6: Demonstrate that the stock status assessment takes uncertainty into account.

Stock status assessments are subject to substantial uncertainty because evaluation of overall health of major stocks is based on fish abundance data collected at limited times in limited index areas.

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Standardized aerial escapement surveys have been much reduced over the years due to budget limitations, and current survey effort may not be adequate for avoiding significant imprecision or bias in escapement estimates due to abnormal run timing or fish distribution. An analysis is needed to evaluate the effect of reduced monitoring effort on the stock assessment program, and we recommend the following approach:

  1. Provide an analysis on the effect of reduced escapement monitoring on the level of uncertainty in stock assessment programs.

  2. Describe how stock assessments account for identified uncertainties in data sources (e.g. environmental variability, errors in catch and escapement reporting, etc.).

Update:The KamchatNIRO report included a description of how salmon stock assessments take uncertainty into account and an analysis of the effect of reduced escapement monitoring on this uncertainty. The information provided was sufficient to address this goal. However the MSC assessment team noted that additional escapement needs to be provided and that escapement monitoring needs to be improved in order to meet an unconditional pass for Performance Indicator 1.2.4. This will be specified in the Public Review Draft Report for the fishery.

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Timeline: 
February 2016
Priority: 
Low
Status: 
Completed
Relevant Performance Indicator: 

Goal 2.1: Provide information to demonstrate that char, sockeye and coho stocks are within biologically based limits.

The limited information provided on sockeye and coho salmon and char during the pre-assessment was insufficient to evaluate the stock status of these species.

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However, data on all retained species are supposed to be collected according to fishery regulations. We recommend the following actions:

  1. Provide catch data (for all companies) on char, sockeye and coho by species and river for the past 15 years.

  2. Provide escapement data on sockeye and coho salmon by river for the past 15 years.

  3. Provide escapement targets for sockeye and coho.

  4. Provide fishery-independent information on char abundances that show population trends over time.

Update:

The KamchatNIRO report included the information requested above except that escapement data was combined over all the rivers, rather than by river. As a result, escapements could not be compared to revised escapement goals for sockeye and coho. The information provided was deemed sufficient to address this goal. However the MSC assessment team noted that annual escapement data for will be needed to meet an unconditional pass for Performance Indicator 2.1.3. This will be specified in the Public Review Draft Report for the fishery.

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Timeline: 
February 2016
Priority: 
High
Status: 
Completed
Relevant Performance Indicator: 

Goal 2.2: Describe the management strategy used to maintain char, sockeye and coho stocks within biologically based limits.

It was unclear from the information provided during the pre-assessment how fishery management prevents overfishing of sockeye salmon, coho salmon and char stocks.

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More information is needed to demonstrate that these stocks receive adequate protection. We recommend the following actions:

  1. Describe the fishery management strategy for ensuring sockeye salmon, coho salmon, and char species are not overfished and explain why this strategy is expected to be successful.

  2. Provide some evidence that the strategy is successful at maintaining these species within biological limits.

Update:

The KamchatNIRO report included the information requested above. The information provided was sufficient to address this goal.

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Timeline: 
February 2016
Priority: 
Medium
Status: 
Completed
Relevant Performance Indicator: 

Goal 2.3: Demonstrate there is adequate information collected on char populations to support the management strategy.

Other than limited catch data, it was unclear what information on char stocks is collected to assess the impact of the fishery on these populations.

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We recommend the following action:

  1. Describe the information used to monitor fishery impacts on char species and explain how this information is sufficient to detect an increase in risk to char populations.

Update:

The KamchatNIRO report included the information requested above. The information provided was sufficient to address this goal. However as stated in the Goal 2.1 update, the MSC assessment team noted that annual escapement data for coho and sockeye will be needed to meet an unconditional pass for Performance Indicator 2.1.3. This will be specified in the Public Review Draft Report for the fishery.

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Timeline: 
February 2016
Priority: 
Low
Status: 
Completed
Relevant Performance Indicator: 

Goal 2.4: Demonstrate that the fishery does not hinder recovery of Chinook salmon stocks.

Chinook salmon stocks are considered depleted in Western Kamchatka, and commercial fishing for them has been banned since 2010.

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Any Chinook caught in the fishery may not be retained; however no information was provided on the number of Chinook salmon incidentally caught in this fishery. More information is needed to evaluate the incidental mortality of Chinook salmon in the fishery. We recommend the following action:

  1. Develop and implement an observer program to independently verify that the fishery is minimizing mortality of Chinook salmon.

  2. Provide information on the number of Chinook salmon incidentally caught in the commercial fishery. Provide information on the expected survival of Chinook salmon incidentally caught and released in the fishery.

Update:

A limited independent observer program was in place during the 2015 fishing season. Independent observers were not able to monitor the fishery early enough in the season to document incidental Chinook salmon catches. However, the KamchatNIRO report included information demonstrating that the timing of the Chinook salmon migration into freshwater occurred well before the commercial salmon fishing started. They also provided data showing that Chinook salmon escapements have been increasing since the ban on commercial retention was implemented. The information provided was sufficient to address this goal.

 

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Timeline: 
June 2015 (Action 1), February 2016 (Action 2)
Priority: 
Low
Status: 
Completed

Goal 2.5: Demonstrate that the management strategy to protect ETP species is effective.

The main ETP species encountered in this area are anadromous Kamchatka steelhead (Oncorhynchus mykiss) and Steller sea lions (Eumetopias jubatus).

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Both species are listed in the Russia’s Red Book, and harvest/hunting is prohibited. Kamchatka steelhead (anadromous rainbow trout) enter rivers from September through November, later than the main fishing season for Pacific salmon. Incidental catches may therefore be minimal, although no supporting data were provided. Marine mammals and sea eagles are also present. These species can easily avoid fishing gear but are considered a nuisance, and anecdotal information suggests they are sometimes shot by fishermen. There are currently no management plans or strategies for ETP species, although plans are in development by the All-Russia Research Institute for Fisheries and Oceanography (VNIRO). Evidence of successful strategy implementation is needed for both steelhead and Steller sea lions. We recommend the following actions:

  1. Develop and implement an independent monitoring program to verify that the fishery is minimizing mortality of ETP species.

  2. Provide evidence showing that Kamchatka steelhead and Steller sea lions are not killed by the fishery (e.g. provide logs or observer records of fishery encounters with these species).

Update:

A limited independent observer program was in place during the 2015 fishing season. The 2015 independent observer program (Semenov et al. 2016) gathered the following information: 

  • Interactions of fishing gear and seals/sea lions appear to be quite limited because they are not abundant in the local fishery area during the fishing season.
  • Verification that company employees complied with company policies prohibiting carrying firearms while fishing.

The KamchatNIRO report did not provide information on bycatch of Kamchatka steelhead and Steller sea lions by the fishery. However, they noted that the timing of steelhead migration in the area is very late in the season and would only overlap with the end of the coho salmon fishing season.  The information provided was deemed sufficient to address this goal.

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Timeline: 
June 2015 (Action 1), February 2016 (Action 2)
Priority: 
Low
Status: 
Completed

Goal 3.1: Demonstrate that the fishery has short and long term objectives.

Quota setting procedures show there is a short-term objective of maintaining adequate spawning escapement, and the presence of long-term objectives is supported by ongoing salmon research.

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However, explicit objectives have not yet been provided.  We recommend the following approach:

  1. Provide documentation of explicit short and long term fishery management objectives consistent with MSC Principles 1 and 2.

Update:

The KamchatNIRO report included the information requested above. The information provided was sufficient to address this goal.

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Timeline: 
February 2016
Priority: 
Low
Status: 
Completed
Relevant Performance Indicator: 

Goal 3.2: Demonstrate that the management system is accountable and transparent.

Some information on fishery performance and management action is available on requestbut is not readily accessible in a timely manner.

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It is also unclear whether explanations are given for any management action or lack of action taken with regard to relevant fishery recommendations emerging from research, monitoring evaluation and review activity.  We recommend the following approach:

  1. Provide evidence that information on fishery performance and management actions is available to interested stakeholders and describe how the management system responds to relevant scientific findings and recommendations.

Update:

The KamchatNIRO report included information on the management strategy for salmon in the region, as well as detailed management actions over the past two years. However, scientific justification for the management actions was not provided. The MSC assessment team noted that the information provided was insufficient to meet an unconditional pass for Performance Indicator 3.2.2. This will be specified in the Public Review Draft Report for the fishery. The timeline for this condition was extended one year to allow time to provide additional information.

 

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Timeline: 
February 2017
Priority: 
Low
Status: 
On track
Relevant Performance Indicator: 

Goal 3.3: Implement monitoring and enforcement programs that are effective and will ensure compliance with fishing regulations.

The fishery is monitored by the state fisheries inspection body, but criminal poaching is a major problem.

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Recent fishery management reforms have apparently reduced illegal harvest, but documentation of improvement is lacking because poaching data were provided only through 2006. We recommend the following approach:

  1. Develop and implement a catch reporting system to minimize the potential risk of illegal catch mixing with the legal catch.

  2. Monitor local rivers to ensure illegal poaching is effectively controlled.

  3. Describe the penalties used for non-compliance with fishery regulations, and provide independent evidence that commercial fishing companies consistently comply with regulations.

Update:

The clients have implemented a catch reporting system and is monitoring their rivers for illegal poaching. In addition, a limited independent observer program was in place during the 2015 fishing season. KamchatNIRO has agreed to provide information on fishery regulation monitoring and control measures.

The 2015 independent observer program verified compliance with seal protection regulations and policies, demonstrated that beach seines and set nets were operated within legal fishing parcels only during legal fishing periods, and confirmed that active enforcement efforts have minimized the incidence of illegal fishing on the Opala River (Semenov et al. 2016). The information provided was sufficient to address this goal. However, the MSC assessment team noted more information will be needed to meet an unconditional pass for Performance Indicator 3.2.3. This will be specified in the Public Review Draft Report for the fishery.

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Timeline: 
June 2015 (Actions 1 and 2), February 2016 (Action 3)
Priority: 
High
Status: 
Completed
Relevant Performance Indicator: 

Goal 3.4: Ensure that research and monitoring results are disseminated in a timely fashion.

The Vorovskaya, Kohl, Opala, and Ozernaya rivers have been monitored for an extended time, and biological sampling of salmon occurs periodically.

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Descriptions of some research projects were provided. Plans for dissemination of research results are unclear. However, it has been very difficult to obtain salmon escapement data, suggesting that results are not available to interested parties. To improve data accessibility and increase transparency, we recommend the following action:

  1. Work with fishery management agencies to obtain relevant research and monitoring results and make them publicly available.

Update:

The KamchatNIRO report included the information requested above. The information provided was sufficient to address this goal.

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Timeline: 
February 2016
Priority: 
High
Status: 
Completed
Relevant Performance Indicator: 

Goal 3.5: Demonstrate that the fishery management system is subject to internal and external review.

Different government organizations interact to review forecasts of allowable catch and fishery management performance.

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However, It was unclear from the information provided during the pre-assessment whether there is any sort of formalized process for internal and external review. To address this issue, we recommend the following action:

  1. Provide evidence that the management system is subject to regular internal and occasional external review. 

​Update:

The KamchatNIRO report included the information requested above. The information provided was sufficient to address this goal.

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Timeline: 
February 2016
Priority: 
Low
Status: 
Completed
Relevant Performance Indicator: