This indicator evaluates the abundance values and their trends of the 22 Chinook salmon populations from five Puget Sound regions as measured by the number of natural-origin adult fish on the spawning grounds. Abundance estimates here do not include hatchery-origin fish (with few exceptions) or Chinook taken in harvest or by predators like orcas. The indicator is intended to reflect the goal of achieving wild population recovery of Puget Sound Chinook, which are federally listed as threatened.
Annual percent change in Chinook salmon population spawner abundance from 1999 to 2019 for each Puget Sound population along with the 25th to 75th Credibility Intervals (CIs), shown by geographic region.
Key Vital Sign Indicator Results
There is little to no sign of recovery of Puget Sound Chinook populations in each biogeographic region. On the other hand, the majority of populations have not decreased significantly in abundance since the time Chinook salmon were listed as threatened under the ESA in 1999. Therefore, our conclusion about progress of the populations of Puget Sound Chinook salmon is “Not Improving”.
Estimates of population spawner abundance of the 22 Puget Sound Chinook populations have changed very little since the baseline reference period when the populations were listed in 1999.
While most populations remain far below their recovery planning targets adopted by NOAA Fisheries, some are doing better. For instance, the recent 5-year abundance geomean for Suiattle River spring Chinook salmon is at 103% of its low productivity planning target for abundance. Upper Sauk River spring Chinook salmon and Upper Skagit River summer Chinook salmon are at 43% and 37%, respectively, of their low productivity planning targets.
The Puget Sound Partnership 2020 recovery target to stop the overall decline in Puget Sound Chinook salmon abundance has been met; however, the recovery target for improvements in wild Chinook abundance across biogeographic regions has not been met.
Stop the overall decline and start seeing improvements in wild Chinook abundance in 2-4 populations in each biogeographic region by 2020.