Assessing Fisheries Management - Performance Standards
Evaluation of salmon fishery management systems examines how well essential fishery management principles or standards are met. State of the Salmon created evolving "Goals and Principles for Salmon Conservation" as a living guidance document to help define the stewardship requirements for thriving wild salmon populations and better ensure that related long-term benefits can be sustained.
Within these broad goals and principles, a ‘top ten list’ of key performance attributes can be synthesized by which to evaluate the likelihood that the management of one or more fisheries will be adequate to help maintain the diversity, productivity, abundance and spatial distribution of individual wild salmon populations (and population complexes) when coupled with other habitat protection and management measures. While these do not represent all the performance attributes that should be examined in a comprehensive fishery assessment, they can form the basis for a quick assessment to identify significant fishery management issues.
- The population structure, contribution and relationships of salmon species being harvested by a fishery are understood and form the explicit basis for coherent management objectives and strategies.
- Management goals (for example, spawning escapement goals and/or allowable exploitation rates) for populations or population complexes are established at levels that have a high likelihood of ensuring that the abundance, productivity and spatial distribution of individual population components are maintained at robust levels.
- Spawning populations are routinely monitored to determine stock productivity, management objectives, and the achievement of objectives (e.g., spawning escapement goals) and those populations monitored are representative of all populations within a management unit, not just the most abundant or productive populations.
- Population management goals are being routinely met and when management objectives aren’t achieved, the fishery takes responsive corrective actions to any pattern of management error.
- The fishery’s management considers the cumulative mortality impacts occurring on contributing stocks across the range of intercepting fisheries, and specific management actions are taken to minimize incidental impacts of any depleted populations that may be intercepted – this includes bycatch of target and non-target species.
- The use of hatcheries as a management tool is limited, and their use is guided by explicit policies and detailed operational plans, which outline specific intent, guidelines and strategies to limit hatchery impacts on wild population abundance, productivity and reproductive performance.
- The contribution of hatchery fish to fishery catches and natural spawning escapements is estimated through marking and monitoring programs, and hatchery fish in natural spawning areas are not counted toward meeting wild spawning escapement goals.
- Any hatchery fish spawning naturally only occur in a small proportion of the natural spawning populations within any population management unit, with proportions of hatchery-origin fish representing a small fraction of the total natural spawning escapement for individual populations, except in localized areas near hatchery release sites; only a small proportion of the total wild escapement for the population management unit is affected.
- The management system implements and evaluates a variety of proven strategies to minimize the interaction between wild and hatchery fish, including use of exclusive wild fish management conservation areas.
- The management system has institutionalized a precautionary management approach where information uncertainty would otherwise create a risk of failing to meet key management objectives.