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199007700 - Develop Systemwide Predator Control for Northern Pikeminnows

Sponsor: Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission (PSMFC)

Budgets: FY07: $3,884,045 | FY08: $3,990,748 | FY09: $4,102,784

Short description: The Northern Pikeminnow Management Program is designed to remove predator-sized northern pikeminnows at an annual rate of 10-20%, resulting in the restructuring of their population which modeling shows could reduce predation on juvenile salmonids by 50%.

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Final Council recommendation (Nov 2006)

Funding category: Expense

Recommended budgets: FY07: $3,000,000 | FY08: $3,000,000 | FY09: $3,000,000


ISRP final recommendation: Fundable


This is an ongoing project that has proven its worth through repeated technical and economic reviews since its inception. The notion that a major predator on juvenile salmonids could be reduced in numbers and the survival of salmonids improved thereby has been validated by many years of data and analyses. The project has been exemplary on reporting of results and has responded well to external reviews. The sponsors have provided a satisfactory and useful response to the ISRP's questions in the preliminary proposal review. The predator removal program seems to have reached its objectives over the years, although better information might be provided on how this has improved smolt-to-adult return rates (SARs). The response indicated how difficult this would be and noted that the project has not attempted it. A number of peer-reviewed publications have been prepared and specific reporting has been completed. This history of results is adequately presented in the proposal. The general context is well explained through coverage of the existing regional plans relevant to the project, but linkages with other predator related projects in the Columbia River Basin are only briefly mentioned in the proposal. However, the response provided good amplification regarding other predators. There was also a good outline of work elements. The proposal is slim on methods, although these have been well standardized over the years. An established database and reporting program is in place. The proposal calls for significant increase in effort toward data synthesis and interpretation; this should be supported. Despite a generally favorable initial review, the ISRP raised several questions that were well addressed in a response by the sponsors. 1) A model for estimating the improved survivorship of smolts is a work in progress. 2) There has been no attempt to relate the predator removals and estimated smolt benefits to SARs because of inherent difficulty. 3) The sponsor clarified what they mean by a systemwide response: “The term “system-wide response” is used in the narrative (2nd paragraph) in reference to possible compensation by remaining pikeminnow and other predators to sustained removal efforts.” The sponsors would welcome a wider involvement in Columbia River Basin ecosystem related management. It would be worthwhile to foster this interest. Perhaps an appropriate agency could host a symposium on predation effects on Columbia River salmonids. Predation in all habitats could be discussed and might shed some light on how or if salmon SARs are being influenced by northern pikeminnow. 4) They provided a useful perspective on other predators (smallmouth bass, walleye) that might increase in response to northern pikeminnow reductions, providing both existing knowledge about lack of compensatory effects and current status of these populations. The ISRP appreciates the concise and informative responses.

Response loop edit

See the sponsor's revised proposal from the response loop. You'll be taken to CBFWA's proposal system in Section 10 where most sponsors uploaded revised narratives or other responses to the ISRP comments.

State/province recommendation: MS: Core Program

Review group: MSRT

Recommended budgets: FY07: $3,000,000 | FY08: $3,000,000 | FY09: $3,000,000

Comment: Does increased harvest rate on pike minnow (nearing 20%) relate to a relative increase in salmon survival? The project has undergone a biological and economic review every several years. The reviewers are concerned about the significant increase in budget since 2005. Will the increased biological benefits for salmon be equivalent to the increase in costs, particularly as compared with other alternatives that increase salmon survival?