The Oregon Production Index:

A Sound Fishery Management Tool That Can Be Improved

RCED-83-185: Published: Aug 15, 1983. Publicly Released: Aug 22, 1983.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Oregon Production Index (OPI), a method of predicting the size of the coho salmon population in a specified area, and assessed the validity of establishing fishing seasons and quotas based on the OPI.

In 1977, because of numerous reasons such as overfishing, degradation of the coho's environment, and environmental fluctuations, the coho salmon population decreased dramatically and remained low for the following 6 years. GAO found that, regardless of the major reason for the decline, the solution to increasing the coho population does not lie in improving the OPI. The GAO analysis, which is supported by independent studies conducted by fishery biologists, indicates that the OPI is a biologically sound concept upon which to set fishing quotas and seasons. The OPI ranks highest among the indicators used by the Northwest salmon fisheries in accurately predicting the size of the coming year's population. However, GAO feels that the OPI can be improved through additional information gathering and coordination with the fishery agencies of neighboring States. The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife has recently requested and received State funds for this purpose.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Commerce should request the Pacific Fishery Management Council to obtain more accurate estimates of Oregon coastal wild stock abundance through stream surveys or other counting techniques.

    Agency Affected: Department of Commerce

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Commerce should request the Pacific Fishery Management Council to gather additional data on the source and distribution of coho stocks in the OPI area through tagging, scale analysis, or other appropriate methods.

    Agency Affected: Department of Commerce

 

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