Historically, forecast error for returns of sockeye salmon Oncorhynchus nerka to Bristol Bay, Alaska, has been large. Using cross-validation forecast error as our criterion, we selected forecast models for each of the nine principal Bristol Bay drainages. Competing forecast models included stock-recruitment relationships, environmental variables, prior returns of siblings, or combinations of these predictors. For most stocks, we found prior returns of siblings to be the best single predictor of returns; however, forecast accuracy was low even when multiple predictors were considered. For a typical drainage, an 80% confidence interval ranged from one half to double the point forecast. These confidence intervals appeared to be appropriately wide.
Additional publication details
Predictability of Bristol Bay, Alaska, sockeye salmon returns one to four years in the future