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Planning and Management Efforts

Recovery of the GOM DPS requires coordinating conservation planning and management efforts across the DPS.  This recovery plan provides guidelines to achieve recovery and is based on the Framework agencies’ year-to-year actions combined with important ongoing stakeholder actions.  In addition, this plan identifies other priority actions that are not currently funded.  In the section below, we provide brief overviews of ongoing conservation planning and management efforts across the DPS. 

Statement of Cooperation

The Atlantic Salmon Recovery Framework

2008 Strategic Plan for the Restoration of the Diadromous Fishes to the Penobscot River (Strategic Plan)

International Efforts

Hatchery Biosecurity Plan to Control Disease

Broodstock Management Plan

Statement of Cooperation

Upon listing Atlantic salmon as endangered in 2000, both the USFWS and NOAA shared jurisdiction in fulfilling the agencies’ obligations under the ESA.  This shared jurisdiction allowed the agencies to share existing resources and expertise in implementing recovery efforts for Atlantic salmon.  Over time though, the Services recognized that there were many aspects of the joint authority that resulted in confusion, inefficiencies, and delays.  To address these issues, the Services developed a statement of cooperation in 2006 with amendments made in 2009.  These amendments more clearly delineated roles and responsibilities, with the USFWS focusing efforts within freshwater and NOAA focusing efforts on the estuary and marine environment.  In addition, NOAA is responsible for actions that relate to dams.

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The Atlantic Salmon Recovery Framework

The Atlantic salmon recovery framework was developed to establish a collective strategy to identify and implement the highest priority management actions and scientific studies that have the greatest potential to further our recovery objectives. The MDMR, USFWS and NMFS share responsibility for Atlantic salmon. The Passamaquoddy Tribe and the Penobscot Nation also have certain management and regulatory responsibilities regarding sustenance fishing within their respective tribal reservations.  Differences in legal authorities, agency procedures and protocols, and expertise have led to confusion, delays in decision making and disagreements. The governance structure articulates roles and responsibilities as well as a pre-agreed procedure and timeline for making decisions in order to avoid such problems in the future. The MDMR, USFWS and the NMFS agree that the fundamental objective of our efforts on behalf of Atlantic salmon is to achieve recovery of the species with the overall objectives of increased distribution and abundance.

The framework identifies a set of strategies and a wide range of alternative strategies that can be implemented to achieve the fundamental objectives of increasing abundance (productivity) and distribution.  Five strategies were identified as necessary for achieving these objectives: Increase Marine and Estuarine Survival; Increase Connectivity; Maintain Genetic Diversity through the Conservation Hatchery; Increase Adult Spawners through the Conservation Hatchery; and Increase Adult Spawners through the Freshwater Production of Smolts.    

Action Teams were formed for each of the five strategies. Each Action Team was charged with developing a list of actions that could be implemented to achieve the biological objectives and oversee, facilitate, and coordinate the implementation of those actions.  A Management Board and a Policy Board were established to provide detailed direction, commit resources, reaffirm priorities and set broad policy direction for the program.


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2008 Strategic Plan for the Restoration of the Diadromous Fishes to the Penobscot River (Strategic Plan)

The goal of the Strategic Plan (MDMR & MDIFW, 2008) is to guide the restoration and management of 12 diadromous fish to the Penobscot River as well as other aquatic resources, and the ecosystems on which they depend for their intrinsic, ecological, economic, recreational, scientific, and educational values.  The strategic plan includes four goals:

  1. Coordinate fisheries management and restoration activities among State and Federal fisheries agencies, Penobscot Indian Nation, and stakeholders and develop criteria to address management differences that strike an appropriate balance in fish community structure compatible with individual agency and stakeholder objectives.

  2. Provide safe and effective upstream and downstream passage for diadromous fishes at barriers that restrict access between their historical habitat in the Penobscot basin and the ocean.

  3. Restore and maintain a healthy aquatic ecosystem that conserves native biodiversity, manages or prevents the invasion of nonnative aquatic species, increases the natural recruitment of fish, and improves aquatic habitat.

  4. Rebuild sustainable fish populations, manage populations of native and naturalized aquatic species, reduce populations of nonnative undesirable species, and maintain and enhance fishing opportunities using adaptive management principles.

An interagency technical committee also developed an operational plan (MDMR & MDIFW, 2009), that details specific actions to accomplish the strategic plan’s objectives.  The strategic plan has a 25-year time frame.


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International Efforts

 

To effectively engage in issues requiring international collaboration such as distant water fisheries, the United States maintains a presence at the North Atlantic Conservation Organization (NASCO) and International Conference for the Exploration of the Seas (ICES).  The United States is a signatory to the “Convention for the Conservation of Salmon in the North Atlantic Ocean” which entered into force in October 1983, creating NASCO to ensure that the burden of Atlantic salmon conservation was shared by both States of Origin and Distant Water Countries. Intercept fisheries (adult fish captured in nets while in transit to or from their feeding grounds in the North Atlantic or on their feeding grounds in the North Atlantic) have posed a significant challenge to recovery of the GOM DPS.  Among distant water fisheries, the West Greenland fishery intercepts the greatest number of U.S. origin fish. Other fisheries where U.S. origin fish are harvested include the St. Pierre and Miquelon fishery located off the coast of Newfoundland, and a subsistence fishery that occurs in Labrador, Canada.  Through multiparty negotiations, this organization works to significantly limit the number of adult GOM DPS Atlantic salmon taken in international waters.

 

In addition, NASCO serves an important role in international cooperation and collaboration to advance rational management of Atlantic salmon stocks within the Convention area.  This involves developing agreements, such as the Williamsburg Resolution (NASCO, 2006), for aquaculture and related activities, and guidance documents related to management of fisheries and habitat.  For NASCO, ICES provides scientific support to help inform NASCO’s management decisions as they relate to Atlantic salmon.  ICES is an international organization that coordinates marine research in the North Atlantic and provides scientific advice to government and international regulatory bodies that manage the north Atlantic Ocean and adjacent seas.

 


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Hatchery Biosecurity Plan to Control Disease

Federal and State-managed hatcheries and programs have stringent biosecurity plans in place to prevent the spread of pathogens between river systems.  Hatchery biosecurity plans outline disinfection and fish-handling procedures for preventing the introduction of pathogens from wild broodstock, process water sources, and other facilities.  In addition to biosecurity plans, both Federal facilities are in the process of developing hazard analysis critical control point plans (HACCPs), which are designed to identify the activities and processes that pose the greatest risk of incoming or outgoing pathogens and strategies to mitigate risk (USFWS 1999). 

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Broodstock Management Plan

The Captive Broodstock Management Plan for Atlantic salmon at Craig Brook National Fish Hatchery (Bartron M. , et al., 2006) was developed to establish a set of protocols for the collection and spawning of Atlantic salmon broodstock at Craig Brook National Fish Hatchery.  The goal of the broodstock management plan is to describe and explain current broodstock management practices at CBNFH. The plan details hatchery operations and describes the facilities and production practices, which aid in the evaluation of future management options at CBNFH. The second goal of the plan is to provide a framework with quantifiable values to evaluate the hatchery program in relation to the management objectives. The plan establishes both short and long term guidance for spawning, monitoring, and evaluation of the captive broodstock program to achieve its restoration and recovery goals.

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