Improving Salmon Management

April 06, 1999

A half-a-million-dollar grant could lead to better managment of Pacific salmon.

The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) grant was awarded to Randall Peterman, school of resource and environmental management, Simon Fraser University, and three collaborators with the federal department of fisheries and oceans.

Peterman, the principal investigator, says the team will use the money to develop methods for estimating productivity of salmon stocks and improving pre-season forecasting of the abundance of Pacific salmon.

"The abundance of Pacific salmon stocks fluctuates considerably from year to year and decade to decade due to environmental variation, particularly in the ocean. This variation affects their survival rates and creates challenges for managers who have to choose each year the number of spawners they want to reach the spawning grounds for each stock," says Peterman. "The variation also affects managers' ability to achieve that target by creating uncertainty about the abundance of fish present during a fishing season."

He says the researchers will also use the grant to develop and test methods for estimating in a timely manner changes in productivity of various salmon stocks. "These methods will help managers choose appropriate target numbers of spawners to reflect changing productivity that could arise due to climatic changes or other sources of environmental change. At present, changes in productivity are hard to detect quickly. We hope to develop methods for more rapidly detecting such changes."
CONTACT: Daria Wojnarski, media/pr, 604-291-4323

Simon Fraser University

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