Is Recovery Working?
We measure salmon recovery in several ways: the number of fish that return to the spawning grounds; the available level of tribal, sport, and commercial harvest; and the health of our rivers, streams, and forests. These data best indicate salmon health when evaluated at watershed and regional scales against specific goals for each species. For more information, visit our Web site, www.stateofsalmon.wa.gov, where we report on salmon recovery by region.
In most of the state, salmon are below the abundance recovery goals set in our federally approved recovery plans.
*Recovery goals for Puget Sound steelhead are under development.
The chart shows broad trends in abundance for fish listed under the federal Endangered Species Act. “Abundance” represents the number of fish returning to spawn (either total number of fish spawning naturally or number of wild-born fish spawning naturally). The type of abundance data available and used for evaluation depends on several factors, including the ability to distinguish between hatchery-origin and natural-origin fish on spawning grounds. In most cases, the fish that are counted toward recovery goals are wild-born (natural-origin) spawners. Abundance is one key piece of information the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) uses to evaluate salmon recovery status. Additional attributes for evaluating population status that are not shown in this report include productivity, life history, genetic diversity, and the spatial structure of the populations (i.e., where and when fish migrate and spawn). NOAA also considers threats and factors affecting the health of listed fish populations including habitat, hatcheries, harvest, and hydropower (the 4 Hs) impacts.
Data Sources: The summary above is a non-statistical evaluation of adult abundance trends for wild fish and is based on data provided by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, tribes, and regional recovery organizations.