Fraser Sockeye Fisheries Model Integration, Coordination and Communication

Canada and the US through the Fraser River Panel of the Pacific Salmon Commission have been using a preseason model to plan fisheries that was developed over 10 years ago. Canada has contracted Simon Fraser University, to begin work on a similar modeling effort. The Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, in the announcement for PICFI, has indicated that salmon will be managed by defined shares. This will require a framework and model. First Nations treaty discussions include defined shares of salmon for both domestic and economic uses.

All of these initiatives need to be consistent with one another, with respect to their basic elements of fish stocks, migration and harvests. In addition, the broader interest in the models means they need to be understood as well as transferable and widely available. New internet tools and web based applications need to be utilized.

This project helped bring the various parties together to understand the strengths and weaknesses of the various objectives and approaches. Unfortunately the events of the 2009 and 2010 Fraser sockeye seasons distracted the agency staff. The advent of the Cohen Commission has delayed many activities and made the availability of staff. Particularly DFO and PSC difficult. Also the need for and shape of new in season management systems may be fundamentally influence by the results of the Inquiry.

Research by the SFU group led by Professor Cox has suggested that there may be significant underlying biases involved the traditional “Box Car” approach to representing the movement of the fish. The research is still on going and any future model development needs to be informed by its results.

Exploration of web based tools to access and use these models seems promising. However, there are still a need for institutional coordination and focus on how to implement these tools.