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Synoptic Assessment Framework for Assessing Conservation Unit Status for Pacific Salmon and 2011 Marine Survival Forecast of Southern BC Coho

Pacific Regional Science Advisory Process

June 27 to 28, 2011
Nanaimo, BC

Chairperson: Michael Chamberlain

This Regional Advisory Meeting (RAP) will review one assessment method working paper developed to rapidly assess the conservation status of anadromous Pacific salmon, and a Science Advisory Report that presents the 2011 Marine Survival Forecast of Southern BC Coho Salmon. The context and objectives for each review are outlined below.

Review 1:  Synoptic Assessment Framework for Assessing Conservation Unit (CU) Status for Pacific Salmon


The Wild Salmon Policy (WSP, DFO 2005) states that management of salmon will be predicated on the establishment of benchmarks and CU status zones. There are over 450 Conservation Units (CUs) that have been identified for Pacific Salmon (Holtby and Ciruna 2007). While assessment methods for determining the biological status of CUs (Holt et al. 2009) are close to completion these methods tend to require an extensive analytical effort.  Given the number of CUs and the wide range in the availability and quality of useful information for each CU, a method or tool to rapidly approximate conservation status, and the presence of severe data limitations, is required to prioritize both assessment and management activities.

DFO Science has developed a method for approximating CU status that can be rapidly and consistently applied across all CUs.  The tool utilizes available data (escapement, recruitment, exploitation rates, etc.) to evaluate trends in abundance and productivity using a small number of metrics that can be derived from readily available data. Metrics for classifying status will be taken principally from COSEWIC (COSEWIC 2010), the IUCN (IUCN 2001), and Holt et al. (2009).  Model validation will include using published reports and expert opinion of CU stock status for two test cases; Fraser River Sockeye Salmon and Southern British Columbia Chinook Salmon CU’s will also be presented.

This RAP will review the proposed rapid assessment tool for Pacific anadromous salmon CUs. Participants are asked to consider the method, the stock validation results, and contribute to the validation process by bringing to bear expert opinion of stock status to the review. Advice on the stock status of the test cases, in the form of a Science Advisory Report, will not be developed.


The following working paper will be reviewed:

A method for the rapid assessment of conservation status of anadromous Pacific salmon in British Columbia and the Yukon Territory by L. B. Holtby. CSAP Working Paper 2011/P37.

The objective of this review is to evaluate the synoptic assessment method developed for Pacific Salmon to rapidly establish a qualitative status of Pacific Salmon.  Specific components of the method to be considered are: 

Review 2:  2011 Marine Survival Forecasts of Southern BC Coho


Forecasts for Southern BC Coho stocks form part of the annual ongoing routine pre-season assessments within the Pacific Region. Forecasts for southern BC coho provide pre-season assessments which are essential for planning fisheries pre-season, and for bounding expectations of run size in-season.  Southern BC coho forecasts consist of pre-season estimates of marine survival for coho stocks originating from Johnstone Strait/Mainland Inlets, South-west Vancouver Island, Georgia Basin – East, Georgia Basin – West, and the Lower Fraser.  For the Interior Fraser River Management Unit, total pre-season abundance is forecasted.  DFO management will be the end user of the advice produced within this advice. By extension, all harvesters will be influenced by this advice when planning for the upcoming fishing season.

Southern B.C. Coho forecasts were last reviewed by the Pacific Scientific Advice Review Committee, or PSARC in 2004 (Simpson et al.).  Since 2005, the forecast report has been published as a Science Advisory Report.


The objective of this review is to evaluate the 2011 Southern BC Coho forecasts, to determine the appropriateness of the methods and data used, and to identify the continued appropriateness of, or alterations from, the 2004 (Simpson et. al.) document.

Expected publications


References Cited

COSEWIC. 2010. COSEWIC's Assessment Process and Criteria.

DFO. 2005. Canada's policy for conservation of wild Pacific salmon. Fisheries and Oceans Canada, 401 Burrard Street, Vancouver, BC V6C 3S4. p. 49+v.

Holt, C.A. 2010. Will depleted populations of Pacific salmon recover under persistent reductions in survival and catastrophic mortality events? ICES J. mar. Sci. 67(9): 2018.

Holt, C.A., Cass, A., Holtby, B., and Riddell, B. 2009. Indicators of Status and Benchmarks for Conservation Units in Canada's Wild Salmon Policy. Can. Sci. Advis. Sec. Res. Doc. 2009/058: 82.

Holtby, L.B., and Ciruna, K.A. 2007. Conservation Units for Pacific salmon under the Wild Salmon Policy Can. Sci. Advis. Sec. Res. Doc. 2007/070: 350 p.

IUCN. 2001. IUCN Red List Categories and Criteria Version 3.1. IUCN.

Simpson, K., M. Chamberlain, J. Fagan, R. Tanasichuk and D. Dobson.  2004.  Forecast for southern and central British Columbia coho salmon in 2004.  Can. Sci. Advis. Sec. Res. Doc. 2004/135


Participation to CSAS peer review meetings is by invitation only.

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