Salmon Assessment Team

The Salmon Assessment Team provides scientific support to salmon fishery management and conducts research on salmon dynamics, assessment, and ecology.

Members of the team have a long history of conducting and contributing to salmon stock assessments through the Salmon Technical Team of the Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC). We also serve on the PFMC Scientific and Statistical Committee, ensuring that sound science guides fishery management decisions. Team members regularly contribute to Endangered Species Act (ESA) Biological Review Teams and provide scientific advice in support of fishery consultations for ESA-listed salmon populations.

The team maintains an active research program with a broad focus on improving salmon assessment and management. Research themes include population dynamics, demography, statistical methods for natural resource management, and stock assessment. Team members participate in a variety of working groups, including those focused on hatchery review, stock assessment improvement, amendment of fishery management plans, and genetic stock identification.

Team members



Research activities

Stock assessment model improvement and development

An important focus of the Salmon Assessment Team is improvement of scientific advice provided to fishery managers. More and improved stock assessments are therefore a primary goal. New assessments and forecasting tools have been developed by team members for Sacramento River fall Chinook, the most important target stock for California and Oregon ocean salmon fisheries, and Sacramento River winter Chinook, an endangered population. Research projects aimed at improving salmon assessment include the continuing development and testing of new methods for estimating fishing mortality, natural mortality, and sexual maturation rates as well as evaluation of alternative salmon abundance forecast approaches.

Salmon life history

Salmon Assessment Team members have developed and continue to refine new techniques for estimating and quantifying temporal variability in size-at-age, which affects the exposure of different stocks to commercial and recreational fisheries, as well as identifying potential environmental drivers of this variability. Other ecological research projects include an evaluation of factors affecting salmon survival, and quantifying patterns in and potential drivers of the temporal variability in salmon stock complexes. The Salmon Assessment Team is also active in evaluating the sensitivity of current assessment techniques to assumptions about adult natural mortality and developing and testing new tools to estimate adult natural mortality directly.

Estimation of salmon distributions

Salmon Assessment Team members have been active in using both coded-wire tag recoveries and genetic stock identification data to better understand salmon stock distributions and contributions to ocean salmon fisheries. New statistical methods were developed and are being refined by team members to evaluate the suitability of indicator stocks and quantify temporal variability in distributions. This work allows for better understanding of stock distributions and the importance of individual stocks contributing to fisheries catch. This line of research is helping to clarify the benefits and shortcomings of traditional tagging technologies along with genetic stock identification for use in salmon assessment and management.