Response for project 198201301: Coded Wire Tag - Psmfc

Comment on proposed FY 2006 budget

Project 1982-013-01 (Coded Wire Tag – PSMFC) requests renewal of funding for FY 2006 at $2,028,757, augmented by new funding ($13,169) for a new total of $2,041,926. The $13,169 in new funding is requested to offset a substantial increase in ODFW’s indirect rate from 22.96% to 30.15%, in addition to increased benefits rates. The higher rates will reduce the amount of work possible if not adjusted for. Continued level funding will no longer support the scope and range of work elements approved for this project. Budget limitations since 2000 coupled the combined effects of inflation, increased run sizes, and intensive management needs, have forced reductions in both sampling rates and sampling coverage. Often samplers have not received earned merit increases or cost of living allowances. Soaring fuel costs in 2004 and 2005 have also greatly added to the funding shortfall given substantial travel is required to sample the sport and commercial fisheries in the lower Columbia Basin and on the Oregon coast. ODFW and WDFW have aggressively implemented cost saving measures to cope with the level funding in the last several years. WDFW, for example, restructured its sampling staff in 2004 which restored 21 months of sampling work (1.75 FTE). Even so, the reality is that the CWT Recovery program has reached the point of serious difficulties in meeting the minimum 20% sampling goal, and particularly for sport fisheries and spawning grounds in the Columbia River tributaries. Forecast for FY 2007: An estimated $225,000 in ‘replacement’ funding will be requested for FY 2007. The add-on funding is needed to restore lost sampling effort, adjust for soaring fuel costs and account for higher benefit rates (medical) and indirect costs. It will also enable ODFW’s tag recovery lab to eliminate the ongoing backlog of thousands of heads and stay abreast of the tag extraction work. These funds will return services to previous levels and ensure that Columbia River and Oregon's ocean fisheries are sampled adequately for stock evaluations and run reconstruction purposes.

Accomplishments since the last review

No metrics apply. Results for 2004: 1. Columbia River CWT Sampling Program (WDFW and ODFW) (a) Commercial non-treaty and treaty fisheries sampled at minimum 20% mark sample rate: - WDFW: 73,652 fish sampled, 4,347 snouts - ODFW: 42,729 fish sampled; 3,452 snouts (b) Sport fisheries sampled in Mainstem, Willamette River, Hanford Reach and major tributaries: - WDFW: 9,083 fish sampled; 552 snouts. Sampling rate 18% - ODFW: 12,185 fish sampled; 830 snouts. Sampling rate > 20% (c) Sampling also done in hatcheries (~100% rate) and on spawning grounds. 2. ODFW – Ocean CWT Sampling Program Oregon’s ocean commercial and sport fisheries sampled at minimum 20% rate and stratified by weeks and major catch areas. (a) Coho: 23,507 fish sampled; 1,966 snouts (b) Chinook: 96,824 fish sampled; 7,381 snouts All CWT recovery data were summarized and stratified (area and age) and then applied to catch and escapement populations to provide age and stock composition for all Columbia River stocks encountered. The data provided population estimates and biological information on spawning populations. Run reconstructions and future run size forecasts done, plus a wide variety of reports. All CWT recovery and sampling data uploaded to PSMFC’s RMIS database. 3. ODFW - Clackamas CWT Recovery Lab The lab processed 37,618 heads in 2004 from fish sampled in the Columbia Basin and Oregon ocean landings during 2001 through 2004. Staff cuts, budget reductions and large escapement in the past few years have forced the lab to prioritize CWT processing. In-season management needs are addressed first, followed by data needs for fishery evaluation and research projects. 4. PSMFC –Regional Mark Center Access to all CWT data (release, recovery, and catch/sample records) provided through PSMFC's on-line 'Regional Mark Information System' ( Staff provided regional coordination of coastwide and Columbia Basin fish marking programs.

FY 2006 goals and anticipated accomplishments

The CWT Recovery Program remains consistent from year to year in terms of sampling the various commercial and sport fisheries, recovering the tags, analyzing the data and then reporting the CWT recovery and sample data to PSMFC. Specific goals and expected accomplishments by project are listed below: In addition, WDFW and ODFW share very similar goals and tasks for sampling their respective Columbia River fisheries and thus are summarized together. 1. Columbia River CWT Sampling Programs of WDFW and ODFW: 1.a) ODFW and WDFW will jointly and separately sample their respective Columbia River Basin fisheries and escapement areas to recover heads from CWT tagged salmon and steelhead. 1.b) ODFW and WDFW will jointly and separately summarize and analyze catch, escapement, and CWT data for stock status monitoring purposes. 2. Oregon Ocean Fisheries CWT Sampling: 2.a) ODFW will sample Oregon’s ocean commercial troll and sport ocean salmon fisheries at a minimum of 20% of the weekly landed catch within major ocean sampling catch areas, and provide CWT sampling data to estimate total effort and catch by port, week, area, and fishery. 2.b) Data analysis and delivery: Error check, summarize, and analyze CWT and ocean fishery data to determine the stock composition by species, time, and area. 3. Tag Extraction and Processing (ODFW) a) The Tag Lab will extract and decode CWTs from fish heads recovered in the Columbia River Basin and Oregon’s coastal ocean fisheries. b) Verify and report CWT recovery data to ODFW's data management operations and to PSMFC's RMIS system. 4. Run Reconstruction and Pre-Season Forecasting WDFW and ODFW will jointly carry out run reconstruction and pre-season forecasting to provide managers with stock specific monitoring information. 5. PSMFC - CWT Data Management a) PSMFC’s Mark Center will maintain the regional CWT database and RMIS system for CWT data retrieval. b) Mark Center staff will assist in regional coordination of CWT marking programs, including CWT data exchange standards.

Subbasin planning

How is this project consistent with subbasin plans?

The CWT Recovery Program is a ‘Mainstem/Systemwide Project’ but its goals and objectives are very consistent with basic subbasin planning. In specific, the Council’s 2000 Fish and Wildlife Program’s basinwide vision is to “...recover, rebuild, and mitigate impacts on fish and wildlife.” through subbasin plans. And impacts of the four Hs (Hydropower, Habitat, Hatcheries, and Harvest) on distinct fish populations (stocks) can not be effectively monitored and evaluated without some type of stock identification tool. To this end, CWTs and Pit Tags both play an essential role as stock identification tools. CWTs are particularly valuable for monitoring and evaluating hatchery and wild production, harvest rates, stock contributions to the various fisheries, and stock status in terms of recovery efforts. The CWT recovery program also provides critical information for evaluating studies on stock selection, disease and diet evaluations, rearing density studies, and life history parameters, including straying patterns. In addition, the federal ESA depends on CWT marked hatchery fish to function as surrogates for wild stocks that are listed as threatened or endangered. The key point is that the CWT is a tool for stock identification. As such, it serves a wide variety of purposes, including the 2000 Fish and Wildlife Program and the NMFS Biological Opinion objectives, as well as those of harvest management. In short, virtually every measure or objective that requires stock identification can be aided by the use of CWT information, provided that the fish are marked.

How do goals match subbasin plan priorities?

Project not specifically related to a single subbasin plan (see above). The concise answer is that the CWT Recovery Program goals and objectives will be in lock step with those subbasin rebuilding programs that are using CWT marked fish to monitor and evaluate their local salmon and steelhead stocks. Quoting the ISRP Final Review (ISRP 2002-14), the Independent Scientific Review Panel noted that “The Coded-wire Tag Program is a huge program that annually conducts a large number of activities that are essential to the Basin, and the data provided has been widely utilized over many years.” This explains in large part why the CWT Recovery Program has consistently been rated at the highest priority level in terms of being funded in previous program reviews. Lastly RPA 174 calls for a comprehensive marking strategy for salmon and steelhead produced in the Columbia Basin. The CWT Recovery Project is an on-going data collection and data management program conducted by ODFW, WDFW, and PSMFC that fully supports the annual assessment of hatchery and wild salmon populations throughout the Columbia Basin. In specific, the goal of this project is to sample statistically valid numbers of chinook and coho in the Columbia River and Oregon coastal commercial and recreational fisheries and the escapement. Annually, the CWT recovery data from marked groups are used to estimate survival, catch distribution, ocean escapement, and returns to hatcheries and spawning grounds. These data also document long-term trends for evaluation of hatchery stocks as surrogates for critical wild stocks, and for comparison with other long-term data sets from throughout the west coast.

Other comments

Response to Council's comment on project: "Need to align budget with actual number of tags needed." This statement is inaccurate as the CWT Recovery Project budget isn't linked directly with tagging rates. The logistics and cost of a sampling program remain largely the same from year to year (ignoring inflation factors) regardless of the number of tags released. For example, samplers still need to go to the ports and randomly sample the landings at a minimum of 20%. The challenge on the tagging side is to mark enough fish so that a statistically valid sample is obtained at the time of recovery, whether in the fisheries or escapement areas. But again, the cost of sampling is largely independent of the level of tagging which occurs 1-3 years earlier. It must also be emphasized that the observed survival rate and magnitude of adult returns can and do have a significant influence on the ability of ODFW’s tag lab to process snouts on a timely basis. In addition, survival rates and returning run sizes can and do create problems in being able to provide enough staff to sample the fisheries, particularly with mass marking and the associated need to electronically sample all catch. Furthermore, expanded mass marking of fall chinook, mandated by federal law, is now being conducted at federal and Washington facilities (and expected to expand to Oregon’s stocks in the near future). The return of these mass marked fish will further increase the sampling work load, with a corresponding decrease in sampling rates unless existing resources are increased.