Tuesday April 2, 2024

Northwest Sportsman

It’s not the final word on whether an Endangered Species Act listing is needed or not, but the 195-page status review does represent an assessment by the National Marine Fisheries Service’s Northwest Science Center in response to a petition filed in 2022 to list the stock and will be a relief to fishermen and salmon managers.

NMFS says the scientists reached their conclusion based on a relatively high overall abundance of Oregon Coast Chinook, including “multiple” rivers with 10,000 or more spawners in average years, and a total population “commonly greater than 100,000 spawners.”

Even as some members of the review team expressed concern about the relatively high rate of harvest – more than 50 percent for most rivers – that was also seen “as evidence of relatively high productivity, because the populations are generally maintaining their abundance.”

While the spring Chinook component of the population, found in the Tillamook and Umpqua Basins, was at moderate risk of extinction, they were deemed “not significant to the long-term viability of the (evolutionarily significant unit) due to the lack of spring run-specific habitat in most of the river systems and the lack of strong evidence that the spring run was historically a major component of the ESU.”

The scientists’ 12-month finding will now be followed by an evaluation of both ongoing and new conservation efforts that may help to reduce factors threatening the salmon. ODFW uses the Coastal Multi-Species Conservation and Management Plan for the population.

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