California Department of Fish and Wildlife

Coho Salmon Recovery

Background

In August, 2002 the California Fish and Game Commission issued a finding that coho salmon warranted listing as a threatened species from the Oregon border south to Punta Gorda and as an endangered species from Punta Gorda south to San Francisco including the Bay (south of San Francisco to Monterey Bay was listed by the State as endangered in 1995). At the same time, pursuant to section 2114 of the Fish and Game Code, the Commission directed the Department of Fish and Game to develop a Recovery Strategy. (See 2002 CDFW Coho Salmon Status Report (PDF).)

Recovery Team

The CDFW Director initiated a multi-stakeholder statewide Coho Recovery Team (CRT) to aid CDFW in developing a plan to recover the species. Additionally, CDFW and NOAA Fisheries jointly meet as the Priority Action Coho Team (PACT) to coordinate recovery strategies and implementation.

Recovery Strategy

The Recovery Strategy for California Coho Salmon (PDF) (Recovery Strategy) was adopted by the California Fish and Game Commission in February 2004. The primary objective of the Recovery Strategy is to return coho salmon to a level of sustained viability, while protecting the genetic integrity of both the Southern Oregon-Northern California Coast (SONCC) ESU and the California Central Coast (CCC) ESU so that they can be delisted and regulations or other protections under the CESA will not be necessary.

A second objective of this Recovery Strategy is to achieve harvestable populations of coho salmon for Tribal, recreational, and commercial fisheries, so important to the cultural and economic well-being of California. CDFW continues to partner with all stakeholders to implement this plan to achieve these objectives.

  • Five goals have been identified to achieve delisting:
    • Maintain and improve the number of key populations and increase the number of populations and cohorts of coho salmon.
    • Maintain and increase the number of spawning adults.
    • Maintain the range, and maintain and increase distribution of coho salmon.
    • Maintain existing habitat essential for coho salmon.
    • Enhance and restore habitat within the range of coho salmon.
  • An additional goal has been identified with regard to harvestable populations, which is to:
    • Reach and maintain coho salmon population levels to allow for the resumption of Tribal, recreational, and commercial fisheries for coho salmon in California.