198201301 - Coded-Wire Tag Recovery

Sponsor: Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission (PSMFC)

Budgets: FY07: $2,783,640 | FY08: $2,894,985 | FY09: $3,010,785

Short description: Recovery of CWTs from salmonids sampled in the commercial/sport fisheries (Columbia River and Oregon ocean), spawning grounds and hatcheries. Provides critical stock identification information required to evaluate the status of Columbia Basin stocks.

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Final Council recommendation (Nov 2006)

Funding category: Expense

Recommended budgets: FY07: $2,130,195 | FY08: $2,130,195 | FY09: $2,130,195

Comment: Interim funding pending further Council consideration of regional monitoring and evaluation framework.

ISRP final recommendation: Fundable


Overall, this is a complete and clearly written proposal for a very large program that represents the coordinating mechanism for the three coded-wire tag (CWT) projects. It is the data collection and management program for the entire CWT effort. Tags recovered from ocean and river fisheries by Oregon and Washington are decoded and data provided to the PSMFC, which manages the data program. An extensive and detailed background section describes the components of the complex CWT sampling program: Columbia River commercial and recreational fisheries, Columbia River hatcheries and spawning ground surveys, selective fisheries, Oregon ocean fisheries (commercial and recreational). Helpful figures are provided to identify locations. The process of data extraction, management and analysis is also described in detail. A number of technical issues raised in past ISRP reviews are addressed in an excellent evaluative discussion. There must be many publications that have been produced based on the program, but the proponents have only listed a few, possibly because of space limitations. The proposal emphasizes the CWT as a stock identification tool that enables many uses of the resulting data. It describes the broad range of uses of the CWT data by a range of agencies and management entities and links these uses with different sections of the Fish and Wildlife Program. However, the proposal mentions that habitat projects and planners also benefit from the program, and it would be useful to have the significance of CWT data to habitats explained more thoroughly. The CWT recovery program is a strong collaborative effort with numerous projects using CWT data. More than 20 agencies provide cost-share for the CWT, ample evidence that the program is well integrated with other agencies. An excellent and well-documented history describes accomplishments of each of the subcontracting projects. It provides a particularly good discussion of the budget, giving reasons for each subcontract's components and budget line amounts. It describes the history of BPA funding in the context of the full regional finding. The proposal would have been improved by a more thorough evaluation of the effectiveness of this large-scale program given the increase in the use of mass marking and the downsizing of many fisheries. The proposal has two main objectives: 1) sample catch and escapement for CWTs, and 2) summarize and analyze CWT and catch/sample data. The objectives are clearly laid out, with explanatory descriptions, specific timelines, and definite and measurable benefits. The proposal calls for expansion of work into sampling PIT tags in the fishery and elsewhere. Wanding for PIT tags is a new objective and the proposal would be improved by more justification for this expansion and evidence of collaboration with agencies applying them, as well as by further discussion of ways in which CWT and PIT tags are complementary. However, this expansion of project scope is likely to provide useful information. There is also radio and hydroacoustic tagging; do the various tagging groups coordinate with each other? The proposal identifies lingering and unsolved statistical and ecological problems related to methodology which may affect the accuracy and precision of data as applied to critical fish and wildlife problems such as conservation of ESUs, for example, the 20% sampling rate and the application of hatchery fish results to wild stocks. Monitoring of results is the primary task of the CWT program and a network of sampling is set up to determine spatial and temporal trends. Another network of investigators does the statistical analysis. The proposal explains this multi-agency work very well. In terms of program effectiveness monitoring, the program performs a lot of quality checking of the data, but it is unknown the extent to which it evaluates how well it meets its objective. The proposal has a good plan for information transfer. Detailed descriptions of data dissemination, analyses conducted for various end users, and information are provided. The ISRP is not requesting a response, but the proposal would be improved if the sponsors provided further information on: -the problem arising from the lack of statistical support (mentioned in previous years); -the ongoing issue concerning the 20% sampling rate; -the problem of hatchery fish representing wild fish; -the linkage between this program and the PIT program and whether there can be some collaboration at the tagging stage rather than the tag detection/sampling stage; -the issue of data security. Clarifications and adjustments to the proposed methods, objectives, and budgets by the sponsor in consultation with the Council and BPA might be needed given recent reductions of some of the salmon fisheries sampled by this program.

State/province recommendation: MS: Core Program

Review group: MSRT

Recommended budgets: FY07: $2,130,195 | FY08: $2,130,195 | FY09: $2,130,195

Comment: A new task has been added to include sampling for PIT tags while sampling for CWTs. There has been a significant increase in budget that cannot be explained by the addition of sampling wands. A budget review should be performed prior to funding. One MSRT member questions the usefulness of the additional PIT tag interrogation task. Many or most fish sampled would likely be cleaned and missing PITs. Individual tag information or expansions from tag data may only produce “interesting” information.