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The value of short-run climate forecasts in managing the coastal coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch) fishery in Washington State
Kaje, J.H., and D.D. Huppert. 2007. The value of short-run climate forecasts in managing the coastal coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch) fishery in Washington State. Natural Resource Modeling 20(2):321-349.
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In recent years our understanding of the intricate connections between climate variability, marine and
freshwater environmental conditions and the responses of fish stocks has improved considerably. With predictable relationships between the environment and stock abundance, fishery managers should be able to forecast variation in stock survival and recruitment. Such forecasts present an opportunity for increasing the economic value of fisheries and for achieving other management objectives, such as stock conservation and maintenance of population diversity.
After describing a 4-step framework for addressing the question ‘What is a forecast worth?’ in a fishery decision-making context, we introduce the management system for Washington’s coastal coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch) fishery. Then we apply the 4-step framework to estimate the value of improved run size forecasts in the annual harvest management of coho salmon in Washington State. Our principal analytical tool is a stochastic simulation model that incorporates the main characteristics of the fishery. The paper concludes with a discussion of opportunities and constraints to the use of climate-based forecasts in fishery management on various spatial and temporal scales, and we consider the challenges associated with forecasting variations in fish stock size caused by shifts in climate and related ocean conditions.