Yukon River Salmon Agreement

Yukon River Salmon Agreement

Pacific Salmon Treaty: Attachment B, Annex IV, Chapter 8

Yukon River Salmon Agreement PDF

Diplomatic Notes, US and Canada, 2002 PDF

Restoration and Enhancement Fund (Attachment C) PDF

Yukon River

1. The Parties recognize:

a) the uniqueness of the Yukon River and its salmon fisheries; having as their principal goal to rebuild and conserve stocks and provide benefits to the fisheries of both countries on this river system, which means the maintenance in both countries of viable fisheries on theYukon River;

b) that subsistence fisheries in Alaska have priority over other fisheries in Alaska;

c) that aboriginal fisheries in Yukon have priority over other fisheries in Yukon;

d) that salmon stocks originating from the Yukon River in Canada are harvested by fishers of both Canada and the United States and that effective conservation and management of these resources are of mutual interest; and

e) that considerable work remains to be done to understand the composition of stocks in the various Yukon River fisheries and to develop effective management techniques based on precautionary management approaches.

Definitions

2. For the purpose of this Chapter:

Enhancement: means expanding a wild salmon stock beyond its natural production level;

Mainstem Yukon River in Canada: means the Yukon River drainage in Canada, excluding the Porcupine River drainage;

Restoration: means returning a wild salmon stock to its natural production level;

Yukon: means the Yukon Territory of Canada;

Yukon River: means the entire Yukon River drainage in Canada and the United States;

Yukon River in Canada: means the entire Yukon River drainage in Canada, including the Porcupine River drainage; and

Total Allowable Catch (TAC): means the total run size of each salmon stock less the agreed spawning escapement objective for that stock.

Application

3. This chapter applies to salmon originating in the Yukon River.

General

4. Each Party shall designate its management entity responsible for the harvest of salmon referred to in paragraph 3.

5. The Parties shall seek to ensure effective conservation and management of stocks originating in the Yukon River.

6. When a fishery is managed under a guideline harvest range regime:

a) the United States shall manage its fishery with a view to delivering to the Alaska-Yukon border the agreed spawning objective plus the midpoint of the Canadian guideline harvest range; and

b) Canada shall manage its fishery within its guidelineharvest range with a view to achieving the agreed spawning escapement objective. In years when the number of salmon reaching the Yukon River mainstream border exceeds the upper end of the Canadian guideline harvest range plus the upper end of the agreed spawning escapement objective, Canada may, subject to paragraph 18, utilise the surplus.

7. The respective management entities shall consult closely and where possible co-ordinate pre-season;management planning and in-season responses to run assessments. If it is determined in-season that pre- season management measures agreed to by the Panel are insufficient to achieve agreed spawning escapement objectives, the management entities shall consider taking further conservation measures to meet the escapement objectives.

8. The harvest sharing arrangement for Canadian-origin Mainstem Yukon River chum salmon shall be specified in Appendix 1, as amended from time to time by agreement of the Parties.

9. The harvest sharing arrangement for Canadian-origin Mainstem Yukon River chinook salmon shall be specified in Appendix 2, as amended from time to time by agreement of the Parties.

10. Subject to budgetary limitations, the Parties shall seek to implement the fisheries research and management programs recommended by the Panel on the advice of the Joint Technical Committee (JTC) for co-ordinated management of Yukon River chum and chinook salmon stocks.

11. Notwithstanding paragraph 10, each Party shall seek to implement such research and management programs as may be required to implement this Agreement.

12. The Parties shall maintain efforts to increase the in-river run of Yukon River origin salmon by reducing marine catches and by-catches of Yukon River salmon. They shall further identify, quantify and undertake efforts to reduce these catches and by-catches.

Yukon River Panel

13. Subject to the approval of the Parties, the Yukon River Panel shall make such by-laws and procedural rules for itself as may be necessary for the exercise of its functions and the conduct of its meetings.

14. The Yukon River Panel shall make recommendations to the management entities concerning the conservation and coordinated management of salmon originating in the Yukon River in Canada.

15. The respective management entities shall take into account the recommendations of the Yukon River Panel in the adoption of regulations, and shall ensure the enforcement of these regulations. These entities shall exchange annual fishery management plans prior to each season.

16. Based on recommendations of the Joint Technical Committee:

a) The Yukon River Panel may from time to time recommend spawning escapement objectives for implementation by the Parties through their management entities; and

b) The Yukon River Panel may revise the spawning escapement objectives for rebuilt stocks in Appendixes 1 and 2.

17. Each year the Yukon River Panel shall review the performance of the fishery management regimes of both Parties for the preceding season with a view to making recommendations to the respective management entities for improving management performance in order to achieve agreed objectives in future years.

18. For any year when a strong run is anticipated, the Yukon River Panel may recommend a spawning escapement objective greater than the agreed level.

19. If the Panel makes such a recommendation as specified in paragraph 18, the United States will endeavour, for that year, to deliver to the Canadian border on the mainstem Yukon River the number of salmon necessary to meet the spawning escapement objective recommended by the Panel, plus the agreed Canadian harvest share.

20. In any year of a strong run, the United States agrees to consider increasing the border escapement to a level greater than agreed in order to allow a higher spawning escapement for that year.

Joint Technical Committee

21. The Parties shall maintain the Yukon River Joint TechnicalCommittee (JTC) established by paragraph C.2 of the Memorandum of Understanding regarding the Treaty, done at Ottawa 28 January 1985, which shall continue to report to the Yukon River Panel. The JTC shall meet annually or more frequently at the direction of the Yukon River Panel to, inter alia:

a) assemble and refine information on migratory patterns and the extent of exploitation in fisheries harvesting Yukon River origin salmon;

b) review existing assessment techniques and investigate new ways for determining total return and escapement and make recommendations on optimum spawning escapement objectives;

c) examine past and current management regimes and recommend how they may be better formulated to achieve escapement objectives;

d) exchange information on existing and proposed restoration and enhancement programs, identify restoration and enhancement opportunities and evaluate the management consequences of harvests of restored or enhanced fish;

e) develop and recommend restoration and enhancement programs to be funded by the Yukon River Salmon Restoration and Enhancement Fund;

f) monitor and co-ordinate agreed research programs and recommend research required in order of priority to enable the Parties to effectively implement this Chapter;

g) evaluate annually the status of Canadian origin chum and chinook salmon stocks and make recommendations for adjustments to the rebuilding programs set out in this Chapter;

h) annually, no later than 30 April, provide the Panel with run outlooks and proposed in-season management strategies designed to achieve escapement objectives and agreed harvest shares of Canadian-origin salmon stocks;

i) use existing procedures and investigate new ways to evaluate progress in rebuilding salmon stocks where necessary;

j) investigate and recommend stock separation studies that would assist in developing specific fishery management programs for individual salmon stocks;

k) review and analyse the effectiveness of alternative fishery regulatory measures to satisfy conservation objectives;

l) submit an annual report to the Yukon River Panel on fishery performance, including harvests and fishing effort of all user groups, fish values made available by either side and biological status of stocks;

m) review information available on coho salmon originating in the Yukon River, and undertake assessments of such stocks;

n) report on the condition of salmon habitat and recommend measures to be taken to protect or enhance salmon habitat;

o) when appropriate, provide an evaluation of the ecological and genetic risks of restoration or enhancement, socio-economic impacts, and identify alternative actions including but not restricted to fishery management actions;

p) recommend levels for restored stocks consistent with natural habitat capacity; and

q) undertake other assignments as may be requested from time to time by the Yukon River Panel.

Rebuilding Mainstem Yukon River Chum and Chinook Stocks

22. With respect to chum and chinook salmon originating in the Yukon River in Canada, when spawning escapements fall below target levels for rebuilt stocks as specified in Appendices 1 and 2 to Chapter 8, Annex IV, upon recommendation of the Yukon River Panel, the Parties shall, through their respective management entities, implement a brood year rebuilding program for the Canadian mainstem stocks. The objective of the rebuilding plan shall be to systematically, as per paragraph 23 below, rebuild the spawning escapement in subsequent return years to the escapement objectives specified from time to time in Appendix 1 for chum and in Appendix 2 for chinook salmon.

23. The rebuilding program shall take into account the relative health of the brood years with the object of rebuilding stronger brood years in one cycle and weaker brood years in no more than three cycles in equal increments. For greater certainty, a cycle for chum salmon is typically considered to be four years, and for chinook salmon, six years, although the Panel may incorporate other age components in designing rebuilding programs

24. Based on the recommendations of the JTC, the Yukon River Panel shall establish and modify as necessary interim escapement objectives of the rebuilding program.

Porcupine River

25. To ensure maximum benefits accrue to Porcupine River spawning escapements, the Parties shall:

a) not initiate new fisheries on Canadian-origin stocks within the Porcupine River drainage before December 31, 2006; and

b) following this period, any Party that intends to initiate a new fishery on the Porcupine River shall inform the Yukon River Panel, which shall recommend conservation and management measures.

26. With respect to the Fishing Branch River chum salmon, the Parties agree that when spawning escapements fall below target levels for this stock as specified in Appendix 1 to Attachment B, the Yukon River Panel shall consider the need to develop a rebuilding plan based on information and analysis from the JTC. If the Yukon River Panel decides that such a plan is needed, it shall request the JTC to prepare a range of rebuilding plan options, including allowing this stock to rebuild as a result of the rebuilding program for theYukon River Mainstem fall chum salmon stock. The Panel shall determine which plan to recommend to the respective management entities.

27. The Parties shall, through their respective management entities, implement the rebuilding plan.

28. Following rebuilding, the Yukon River Panel may recommend catch shares for the Canadian-origin Porcupine River chum salmon stocks.

29. If sufficient information becomes available for chinook and coho salmon stocks originating in the Porcupine River in Canada, the Panel, upon recommendation of the JTC, shall develop a conservation and management program for these stocks.

Habitat

30. In light of the benefits they receive from the salmon originating in their portions of the Yukon River, the Parties agree that:

a) salmon should be afforded unobstructed access to and from, and use of, existing migration, spawning and rearing habitats;

b) respective water quality standards should be maintained and enforced;

c) productive capacity of the salmon habitat on both sides of the Alaska-Yukon border should be maintained in order to achieve the objectives of the Chapter; and

d) should access be obstructed, water quality standards be degraded or productive capacity of the salmon habitat be diminished to a degree that affects the objectives established in this Chapter, the Yukon River Panel may recommend corrective actions which may include adjustments to fishing patterns, border escapement objectives and guideline harvest ranges.

Restoration and Enhancement

31. Each Party shall assist the Yukon River Panel in developing and implementing the programs referred to in paragraph 1 of Attachment C and shall, in particular, provide essential support, as required, for programs in its portion of the Yukon River.

32. Unless the Parties jointly decide otherwise, on the basis of recommendations by the Yukon River Panel, the primary objective of:

a) restoration and conservation programs and projects shall be to increase spawning escapements in areas requiring restoration; and

b) enhancement projects shall be to increase harvests taking into account the conservation of wild stocks.

33. Harvest shares for salmon produced by enhancement activities shall be recommended by the Yukon River Panel.

34. The Principles and Guidelines for operation of the Yukon River Restoration and Enhancement Fund are set out in Appendix 1 to Attachment C.

35. Contributions to be made by the United States to the Fund are set out in Appendix 2 to Attachment C.

Appendix 1

Escapement Objectives for and Harvest Sharing of Canadian-Origin Chum Salmon

1. Subject to paragraph 16 of this Chapter, the Parties agree that the escapement objective for the rebuilt chum salmon stock:

a) in the mainstem Yukon River in Canada shall be greater than 80,000 chum salmon; and

b) upstream from the Fishing Branch River weir site shall be 50,000 to 120,000 chum salmon.

2. Harvest of Mainstem Yukon River chum salmon shall be shared beginning in 2001 and continuing until amended by the Parties, on the following basis:

a) when the Total Allowable Catch (TAC) is between zero and 120,000 chum salmon, the guideline harvest range for Canada shall be between 29% and 35% of TAC;

b) when the TAC is above 120,000 chum salmon, the guideline harvest range shall be between 29% and 35% of 120,000, i.e.., 34,800 and 42,000 chum salmon, plus 50% of the portion of the TAC greater than 120,000 chum salmon.

Appendix 2

Escapement Objective for and Harvest Sharing of Canadian-Origin Yukon River Chinook Salmon

1. Subject to paragraph 16 of this Chapter, the Parties agree that the spawning escapement objective for the rebuilt chinook salmon stock in the Mainstem Yukon River shall be 33,000 to 43,000 chinook salmon.

2. Harvest of Mainstem Yukon River chinook salmon shall be shared beginning in 2001, and continuing until amended by the Parties, on the following basis:

a) when the Total Allowable Catch (TAC) is between zero and 110,000 chinook salmon, the guideline harvest range for Canada shall be between 20% and 26% of the TAC;

b) when the TAC is above 110,000 chinook salmon, the guideline harvest range for Canada shall be between 20% and 26% of 110,000, ie., 22,000 and 28,600 chinook salmon, plus 50% of the portion of TAC greater than 110,000 chinook salmon.