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Research Document 2019/015

Framework for reviewing and approving revisions to Wild Salmon Policy conservation units

By Wade, J., Hamilton, S., Baxter, B., Brown, G., Grant, S.C.H., Holt, C., Thiess, M., and Withler, R.


In 1998, Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) announced a new direction for Pacific salmon fisheries, stating that conservation of Pacific salmon stocks was its primary objective and would take precedence in managing the resource (DFO, 1998). The first published list of Conservation Units (CUs) was for Fraser River Chinook Salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) (Candy et al. 2002). With the adoption of the Wild Salmon Policy (WSP) for the Pacific Region of Canada in 2005, methods for identifying CUs and a list of CUs were created for five of the Pacific salmon species (Holtby and Ciruna 2007). This list was the result of much research and consultation. Since the development of the 2007 list, adjustments have occurred as new information has become available, as CU-specific biological expertise and aboriginal expertise has been sought, and as historic information has been re-examined. 

There has been recognition of a need for a formalized process for reviewing and updating CUs which could guide the review process in a standardized and consistent manner.  Such a process would also resolve various issues such as establishing a repository for all information related to and used to define CUs and establish a process for communicating change. The need for such a process has also been precipitated by the retirement of Dr. Holtby, a DFO scientist and original architect of the CU list, who had maintained the information and data used to define CUs. This work aligns with a key element of the WSP Implementation Plan (DFO 2018) through the establishment of a process to review and approve revisions to CUs (Activity 1.1).  

This paper proposes a framework to review and approve changes to CUs.  It also proposes guidelines for data management, governance of the authoritative list of CUs and their attributes, and communication both within DFO and to the public.

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