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Effect of forecast skill on management of the Oregon coast coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch) fishery

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Better fisheries management is often given as one justification for research on improving forecasts of fish survival. However, the value gained from expected improvements in forecast skill in terms of achieving management goals is rarely quantified as part of research objectives. Using Monte Carlo simulations of population dynamics, we assessed the effect of forecast skill under two strategies for managing Oregon coast natural (OCN) coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch). The first, or status quo, strategy is currently being used to rebuild threatened OCN coho populations. This strategy determines harvest based on both a forecasted marine survival rate and parental spawner abundance. The second strategy relies on a forecast of preharvest adult abundance to achieve a constant spawner escapement target. Performance of the status quo strategy was largely insensitive to forecast skill, while the second strategy showed sensitivity that varied with escapement target and specific performance metric. The results imply that effort towards improving forecasts is not justifiable solely on the basis of improved management under the status quo strategy, though it may be were the management strategy altered.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Northwest Fisheries Science Center, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Newport, OR, USA.

Publication date: June 30, 2012

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  • Published continuously since 1901 (under various titles), this monthly journal is the primary publishing vehicle for the multidisciplinary field of aquatic sciences. It publishes perspectives (syntheses, critiques, and re-evaluations), discussions (comments and replies), articles, and rapid communications, relating to current research on cells, organisms, populations, ecosystems, or processes that affect aquatic systems. The journal seeks to amplify, modify, question, or redirect accumulated knowledge in the field of fisheries and aquatic science. Occasional supplements are dedicated to single topics or to proceedings of international symposia.
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