Risk-Averse Management of Eulachon in the Columbia River System

Risk-Averse Management of Eulachon in the Columbia River System

Greg Bargmann, John DeVore, and Bill Tweit

Risk-Averse Management of Eulachon in the Columbia River SystemThis is part of Fisheries Assessment and Management in Data-Limited Situations
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Description

This paper reports on the development of a management strategy for eulachon (Thaleichthys pacificus) in the lower Columbia River where data are sparse. Eulachon are an anadromous species, of the family Osmeridae, which ascend the lower Columbia River and tributaries to spawn. Starting in 1994, the abundance of the spawning run declined sharply as evidenced in the performance of the commercial fishery. The decline prompted the need to develop a management plan for these fisheries in the absence of management or biological information. Oregon and Washington managers worked with the fishing industry to develop a management plan. The plan incorporated goals of maintaining healthy populations of eulachon, considering the role of eulachon in the Columbia River ecosystem, and developing a risk-averse management strategy. The plan adopted three levels of fishing effort. Fisheries are monitored in-season and fishing level changes are made depending on the results of the monitoring. The ability to adjust fishing levels in-season is important to the fishing industry, general public, and managers.

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