The Future of the California Chinook Salmon Fishery: Roles of Climate Variation, Habitat Restoration, Hatchery Practices and Biocomplexity

Start/End: February, 2010 to January, 2015

This project seeks to provide managers with tools for weighing the pros and cons of various restoration options for Central Valley and Klamath run Chinook salmon. . In published work to date, scientists have shown that bigger salmon out-migrating to sea for the first time are more likely to survive hostile ocean conditions than smaller fish of about the same age. This size advantage, however, occurs only when krill is scarce. Young salmon of all sizes are equally likely to survive when food resources (krill) are readily available. Based on their work, scientists have developed a model that forecasts adult salmon returns two to three years in advance, based on ocean water temperatures and krill abundances. NOAA’s Integrated Ecosystem Assessment program shares these predictions with the Pacific Fisheries Management Council, which manages the salmon fishery. NOAA Fisheries’ Salmon Assessment Team also uses the model output to help it evaluate the consequences of salmon fishing on endangered Sacramento River winter-run Chinook salmon.

Co-principal Investigators