The Alaska Department of Fish and Game interdivisional escapement goal review committee reviewed Pacific salmon Oncorhynchus spp. escapement goals for the major river systems in Bristol Bay. The committee evaluated spawner-return data for sockeye salmon O. nerka in the Alagnak, Egegik, Igushik, Kulukak, Kvichak, Naknek, Nushagak, Togiak, Ugashik, and Wood rivers; Chinook salmon O. tshawytscha in the Alagnak, Egegik, Naknek, Nushagak, and Togiak rivers; and chum salmon O. keta in the Nushagak River. There are no escapement goals for coho salmon O. kisutch or pink salmon O. gorbuscha for any Bristol Bay rivers. This review examined the existing 16 escapement goals and two others that were eliminated in the 2006 review: Nushagak River coho and pink salmon.
Two significant events have occurred since the last escapement goal review three years ago. The first was the transition from Bendix sonar to DIDSON for the Nushagak River, affecting goals for Chinook, chum, and sockeye salmon by applying a correction factor to historical escapements to put them in terms of DIDSON-equivalent counts. The second was an extensive run reconstruction of historical Bristol Bay sockeye salmon brood tables using comprehensive genetic stock composition estimates since 2006, along with older genetic estimates gathered from select sets of scale DNA dating back to the early 1960s.
The committee recommended changing the ranges for 8 escapement goals (Nushagak River Chinook and chum salmon, and Egegik, Igushik, Naknek, Nushagak, Ugashik, and Wood river sockeye salmon). Four of those goals would also change in type: Igushik, Naknek, Nushagak, and Wood river changing from “sustainable escapement goal” SEGs to “biological escapement goal” BEGs. Three goals were eliminated: Egegik and Togiak river Chinook salmon, and Kulukak Bay sockeye salmon. Finally, two new goals were established: Nushagak River coho and pink salmon.