ISAB/RP review of the Salmonid Field Protocols Handbook

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On April 18th, 2007, the Council asked the ISAB and ISRP to review the Salmonid Field Protocols Handbook, which was assembled under the aegis of several agencies and institutions and has been published by the American Fisheries Society. The ISAB and ISRP were specifically asked to determine whether the Handbook furthers the Fish and Wildlife Program's goal of developing an effective regional monitoring and evaluation plan by establishing standard protocols for collecting salmonid population and habitat data. The Handbook provides a compilation of recommended field protocols for monitoring and collecting fish population data. It is intended to be a reference guide that offers the potential for some standardization of methods and aid to the training of aquatic scientists and technicians. A primary goal is that, if used, the protocols will improve the accuracy and utility of aquatic data sets.

The ISRP and ISAB have on numerous occasions recommended that the Fish and Wildlife Program needed coordinated and cooperative monitoring programs to evaluate the trends and changes in habitats (tributary and mainstem) and the status and trends of naturally produced salmonids. One of the elements of an effective monitoring program is the application of common/standardized protocols for (1) selection of study sites in the field, (2) different methods for collection of samples or data, and (3) common formats for storage of electronic data. Ideally, the approved or agreed upon protocols would be available in one document or Handbook.

This Handbook begins to fill that important void. It is a compendium of useful advice and bibliographies reflecting the practical experience with these methods of the large number of persons who contributed to it. Numerous specific protocols are described, facilitating their study, refinement, and, where appropriate, adoption by appropriate agencies, research groups, and projects. Descriptions of protocols are quite variable in coverage of their respective topics, both in depth and breadth.

It was the ISAB and ISRP's understanding that the Council was asking not for an in-depth review of the Handbook – it has already been peer reviewed – but rather only a review of the Handbook’s general applicability to the Council’s program. However, the ISAB and ISRP do offer an abundance of commentary, both general and specific, on the Handbook. See the appendix link above for their specific comments and references.

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