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ESA-listed Hood Canal Summer Chum Salmon: A brief update on supplementation programs, extinction risk, and recovery goals

Category: Fish/Shellfish Research and Management - Management and Conservation

Date Published: May 2007

Number of Pages: 12

Author(s): Kyle Adicks, Jim Ames, and Thom Johnson


Hood Canal summer chum (including the eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca) were listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act in 1999. Recovery planning and implementation were underway prior to the listing, with harvest reductions and supplementation programs enacted in the early 1990’s. Runsizes of summer chum have been on the rise since the mid-1990’s, with the 2004 return being the largest on record. The average harvest rate has declined from nearly 55% before recovery actions were implemented, to less than 10% in the subsequent years. Extinction risks have decreased for all stocks classified at high or moderate risk of extinction prior to implementation of recovery actions. Supplementation programs have succeeded in reducing the extinction risk of several stocks that were at critically low levels prior to supplementation and these stocks have demonstrated strong returns of both supplementation-origin and naturalorigin fish in recent years. Reintroduction programs also appear to be succeeding, with natural-origin spawners returning to two streams where summer chum had been extinct for more than 10 years.

Interim recovery goals for summer chum have been developed by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Point No Point Treaty Tribes based on historic population sizes, and include abundance, escapement, productivity, and diversity targets. These interim goals will be reviewed and revised as more is learned about the population dynamics of Hood Canal summer chum. Summer chum populations are not yet meeting the co-managers’ abundance-based recovery goals, due in part to the requirement that all stocks meet recovery abundance thresholds over a period of 12 years. The outlook for summer chum, however, is certainly much brighter than it was just 10 years ago.