AYK chinook salmon action plan.
The report below is very well done and an excellent example of what one can do with outside experts and ADF&G working together on an issue. People should read this document and for those who do not like to hear about density dependent impacts on salmon stocks this article should make you think about your position. The highlight section below the link is from Deck boss blog and I thought it would tweak people's interest more than me just having the link.
An organization known as the Arctic-Yukon-Kuskokwim Sustainable Salmon Initiative recently issued a research action plan to address Western Alaska's weak Chinook returns.
The plan is cumbersome reading, but Deckboss spent some time with it and offers this very brief summary.
An "expert panel" co-chaired by Daniel Schindler, a University of Washington fisheries scientist, identifies seven hypotheses thought to be the most likely causes of low Chinook returns.
Out of these seven hypotheses, the expert panel gives six the highest priority for research funding.
The one not ranked highest priority is marine bycatch — the idea that mortality from non-salmon fisheries in the ocean has contributed to the decline of AYK Chinook stocks.
The action plan states:
Based on available data, the bycatch within the domestic walleye pollock fisheries seems unlikely to have been the primary cause for the recent dramatic declines of Chinook salmon in the AYK region, because estimates of bycatch from this source are not high relative to the estimated declines in the total returns to the drainages.
The other six hypotheses include: density-dependent effects and overcompensation; freshwater mortality; ocean mortality; anthropogenic changes to marine ecological processes; escapement quality; and pathogens.
Obviously some of these are a bit technical. But the action plan contains plenty of additional detail on each hypothesis.
Thanks Nerka. This seems like a great piece of science, for those of us who like that sorta thing.....
Lots of big names on the list of experts, some of whom I know personally, but I won't drop any names for effect.
I haven't had time to read the report, but the summary seems surprising. Their reason for not recommending additional research on marine by-catch seems contrary to the purpose of the report. The summary says ".... bycatch within the domestic walleye pollock fisheries seems unlikely to have been the primary cause for the recent declines......". If they're looking for a "primary cause" they ain't gonna find it. There is no silver bullet. There are only causative factors, which when added together, can result in wide spread decline. Again, I haven't read the report, but that statement is confusing.
Further, the summary states that estimates of marine bycatch are not high, relative to the estimated declines in the total returns to the drainages. Fine, but what are the mortality estimates from the other sources identified such as, say, pathogens? Or changes to marine ecological processes? Or freshwater morality across multiple watersheds? I'm sure the report provides additional detail, but I would be really surprised if morality from these other, more speculative, factors is anything close to being significant enough to enable scientific identification several years after the affects have occurred. Presumably some of these factors might still be occurring, but even that is speculation.
However, I will read the report (when I get some time) with an open mind. I know that the folks who wrote this report are some of the best minds in the fish business, so whatever they write carries alot of weight.
Only by God and it was approved -