I thought this might help those ( & myself ) who
wondered what exactly the NOAA over fished designation means for Grays Harbor.
I dug this up in a Public Document Request so from a agency staffer is the
thought on what it meant legally. A bit of technical reading but these are the best I can do at the moment.
What this means is the NOAA and the Council (PFMC) (They)
have determined that overfishing is occurring but the stocks are not in an
overfished status at this time. They determined that a stock is currently being
overfished using Maximum Fishery Mortality Threshold (MFMT). For Grays Harbor
fall Chinook, the MFMT is 63%. That is, if overall fishing mortality (all
fisheries) exceeds 63% the stock is considered to be experiencing overfishing,
see EXCEL file. It is not concerned "Overfished", which is Maximum
Stock Size Threshold (MSST). MSST is currently defined as half Stock maximum
sustainable yield (Smsy), or 13,326 x 0.5 = 6,663.
Below is what actions are taken is a stock is
determined to be experiencing overfishing, this is from the Amendment 16 of the
PFMC's Fisheries Management Plan:
The STT will report postseason exploitation rates in the annual SAFE document,
and when overfishing occurs, the Council shall:
1. notify the NMFS NWR administrator of the STT’s findings; 2. direct the STT
to assess the mortality rates in fisheries impacting the stock of concern and
report their findings; 3. immediately take action to ensure Council area
fisheries are not contributing to overfishing, and; 4. notify pertinent
management agencies of the stock’s status and the contribution of various fisheries
to the total exploitation rate.
This is a little more in-depth.
Grays Harbor Fall Chinook:
Grays Harbor fall Chinook spawner escapement goal
was reevaluated and changed in 2014. The
new natural spawning escapement goal is 13,500 naturally spawning Chinook for
Grays Harbor with 9,880 for Chehalis River and 3,620 for Humptulips River.
The Grays Harbor fall Chinook spawner escapement
goal was 14,600, 12,364 Chehalis River and 2,236 Humptulips River. This goal was adopted in 1979 and was based
on available spawning habitat and a spawning density of 36 fish per mile. A level of 24 fish per mile was used for the
mainstem Chehalis River and all tributaries upstream of Cedar Creek, reflecting
lower productive potential. This goal is
defined as a natural spawning escapement goal.
The Chinook Technical Committee (CTC) is to review
the biological basis for Chinook salmon management objectives under the Pacific
Salmon Treaty (PSC, 2009), Chapter 3, Section 2. (b) (iv), The CTC shall
“…evaluate and review existing escapement objectives that fishery management
agencies have set for Chinook stocks subject to this Chapter for consistency
with MSY or other agreed biologically-based escapement goals and, where needed,
recommend goals for naturally spawning Chinook stocks that are consistent with
the intent of this Chapter…”. The
abundance-based management regime for Chinook salmon established by the 2008
Pacific Salmon Commission (PSC) is intended to sustain production at levels
associated with maximum sustained yield (MSY, measured in terms of adult
equivalents) over the long term.
Therefore, the escapement goal for Grays Harbor fall Chinook was
reevaluated based on spawner recruitment analysis.
The reevaluation of the Grays Harbor fall Chinook
spawner escapement goal occurred in 2014.
Three spawner-recruit functions were considered (Shepherd,
Beverton-Holt, Ricker), and the Ricker model was identified as being the most
appropriate form for both the Chehalis and Humptulips datasets. Brood years 1986 to 2005 were used in the
analyses. In all analyses, parent
generation escapement (i.e., spawners) includes both natural- and
hatchery-origin fish spawning naturally. Spawner recruitment, biological based natural
spawning escapement goals were developed for Chehalis and Humptulips
rivers. Based on the Ricker analysis
model, a Chehalis River fall Chinook natural spawning escapement goal of 9,880 was proposed and 3,620 for the Humptulips River. A harbor-wide natural spawning escapement
goal of 13,500 was proposed.
On March 18, 2015 posted in the Federal Register
Vol. 80, No. 52, NMFS proposes updates to management reference point values for
Grays Harbor fall Chinook as recommended By the Pacific Fishery Management
Council (Council) for use in developing annual management measures beginning in
2015. These management reference point
values are conservation objectives to provide necessary guidance for fisheries
management within the guidance of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and
Management Act. There are four
management reference points established in Federal Register V. 80:
natural area spawners for Grays Harbor (9,753 Chehalis, 3,573 Humptulips)
13,326 natural area spawners.
Fishery Mortality Threshold (MFMT, generally equal to FMSY), total exploitation
rate of 63%. Management all fishery
exploitation to 63% or less.
Stock Size Threshold (MSST, Smsy * 0.5), 6,663 natural area spawners (13,326 *
0.5 = 6,663. If natural area spawners drop below 6,663, stock considered “over fished”.
Posted on Sat, December 26, 2015
by Dave Hamilton