Status of the Tana/Teno River salmon populations in 2021
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Anon. 2021. Status of the Tana/Teno River salmon populations in 2021. Report from the Tana Monitoring and Research Group nr 1/2021. This report is the fifth status assessment of the re-established Tana Monitoring and Research Group (MRG) after the new agreement between Norway and Finland. After a summary of salmon monitoring time series in Tana/Teno, we present an updated status assessment of 8 stocks/areas of the Tana/Teno river system. All stocks are evaluated in terms of a management target defined as a 75 % probability that the spawning target has been met over the last four years. A scale of four years has been chosen to dampen the effect of annual variation on the status. Assessing the stock status is answering the question about how well a salmon stock is doing, how many salmon were left at the spawning grounds and how many should there have been. The question about how many salmon should spawn has been addressed by the defined spawning targets for the different populations (Falkegård et al. 2014). The unprecedented situation in fisheries in 2021 when a total moratorium of salmon fisheries was in place both in the Teno/Tana river system and in large areas in Tanafjord and in adjacent coastal areas. In contrast to the several alternative ways of estimating the spawning stock used in earlier years (Anon. 2020), only direct counts of ascending and spawning salmon were used in assessment in 2021 because of the absence of salmon catches. The map below summarizes the 2018-2021 stock status of the evaluated parts of the Tana/Teno river system. Symbol colour designates the management target attainment, defined as probability of reaching the respective spawning targets over the last four years. The management target was classified into five groups with the following definitions: 1) Probability of reaching the spawning target over the last four years higher than 75 % and attainment higher than 140 % (dark green color in the summary map below) 2) Probability higher than 75 %, attainment lower than 140 % (light green) 3) Probability between 40 and 75 % (yellow) 4) Probability under 40 %, at least three of the four years with exploitable surplus (orange) 5) Probability under 40 %, more than one year without exploitable surplus (red) Based on the status assessment, all eight evaluated areas had a management target attainment below 40 %, and three of the areas were placed in the worst status category with very little exploitable surplus over the last four years. Of the stocks with poor status, the most important thing to note is the status of the upper main headwater areas of Kárášjohka, Iešjohka and Anárjohka/Inarijoki and of the Tana/Teno main stem. These areas had low target attainment and low exploitable surplus. These four areas constitute 84 % of the total Tana/Teno spawning target and over the last four years, these areas together have lacked 30-35 000 kg female spawners annually to reach their combined management targets. To conclude, the situation for different salmon stocks of the Tana/Teno system in 2021 show a continued overall negative status with low spawning stocks and low estimates of pre-fishery abundance. The numbers of large MSW salmon were particularly low, in line with what was predicted for 2021. Overall low returns of 1SW salmon continued, and it is therefore expected that the return of MSW salmon will continue to be extremely low in 2022 and that there likely will not be any sustainable surplus available. Given this forecast, we strongly advise keeping the salmon fisheries either closed or allow only very limited salmon fishing in 2022. This recommendation is based on biological considerations only.