Genetic Analyses of Samples Collected in the Recreational Chinook Fisheries in Northern British Columbia

This proposal is for the genetic analysis of approximately 1,400 Chinook salmon samples collected from recreational fisheries in Northern British Columbia each season. The fisheries sampled include the Area 1 fishery near Haida Gwaii (QCI) and the Chatham Sound fishery in Areas 3 and 4 near Prince Rupert. Scales have been used successfully for genetic analyses of Chinook salmon caught in sport fisheries in previous studies. Sport fisheries in Canada receive priority access to Chinook salmon over commercial fisheries, and the sport fishery in Northern BC experienced significant growth up to 2004, when it was moderated by economic conditions. Scale collections from the fishery provide an opportunity to extract DNA for genetic analyses to identify stock specific impacts. Sport fisheries in Area 1 are part of the PSC Aggregate Abundance Based Management Regime (AABM). Areas 3 and 4 roughly represent the terminal areas of the Nass and Skeena Rivers respectively, and Sport Fisheries in Areas 3 and 4 are part of the PSC Individual Stock Based Management Regime (ISBM). The Nass and Skeena river systems are home to PSC escapement indicator stocks that drain into Chatham Sound.
Genetic data have been used to estimate fishery impacts on Chinook stocks and used to manage fisheries to avoid stocks of concern. Stock definition is essential to assessing fishery impacts. Genetic data are useful for the assignment of Chinook mortalities for the purposes of specific stock management (e.g. WCVI Chinook or local concerns for Yakoun River or Kwinamass and Khutzeymateen River Chinook) and for accounting of Nisga’a Treaty entitlements. Genetic data supplement CWT data to estimate fishery impacts on stocks of concern. The project will provide age and stock specific data for Chinook catches in NBC sport fisheries and general stock composition data for weak stock considerations and support of treaty accounting.