In previous years, Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission has been funded to expand the genetic baseline for Chinook salmon with microsatellite markers and more recently single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) markers. While this has provided moderate improvement to baselines used for genetic stock identification (GSI), new technology is available that allows for vastly increasing the number of SNPs that can be added to baseline populations. This new technology uses an approach called Restriction-site Associated DNA (RAD) tags to genotype thousands of SNPs in baseline samples. This should provide a nearly unlimited number of powerful markers for GSI purposes and greatly improve the resolution and accuracy of mixed stock analyses.
The goal of the project is to estimate the spawning escapement of the Fraser River – South Thompson age 0.3 aggregate (ST0.3A Chinook). The ST0.3A escapement will be estimated using Coded Wire Tags (CWT), Genetic Stock Identification (GSI), and CWT exploitation rate indicator stock data from escapement and Fraser River fisheries. To achieve this objective, we will increase recovery of CWTs from Chinook carcasses in the Lower Shuswap River; conduct a high-precision mark-recapture project and CWT sampling in the Middle Shuswap River; collect age samples across the South Thompson watershed; produce a CWT release group of Middle Shuswap River smolts (to augment the Lower Shuswap indicator stock); and analyze GSI and age data from the Albion Test Fishery.
N18-VHP16 Estimation of 2015 – 2018 Escapements of the South Thompson 0.3 Chinook Aggregate using a Bayesian Model that Combines Data on CWT Recoveries and GSI_Report Title Page
Several projects on Slamgeesh Lake have been funded by the Northern Endowment Fund from 2007 onward. These projects include the installation and subsequent infrastructure improvements of the smolt trap, the weir, and repairs to the field station’s cabin.
Today and moving forward the continuation of fisheries research activities at Slamgeesh Lake is of high priority to the Upper Skeena Watershed Planning Group of the Gitxsan First Nation, the Skeena Fisheries Commission Technical Committee and the Northern Boundary Technical Committee. Complete coverage of the entire juvenile outmigration of both coho and sockeye salmon is of the upmost importance in accurately estimating recruitment. While enumeration of all returning adult coho and sockeye salmon will increase our understanding of run timing, ocean survival, coded-wire tag retention, and a complete total escapement census above the counting fence. This information is advantageous when managing the Skeena River mixed stock fishery.
We propose to lengthen the sampling season of both the juveniles in the spring and the adults in the fall to meet this need.
N18-I35 Slamgeesh Program Operation Support Report 2018
N14-I30 Slamgeesh Sampling Weir Infrastructure Improvements
N12-I14 Slamgeesh Camp Infrastructure Improvements
N10-I16 Reinstallation of Slamgeesh Lake Smolt Trap. Year 3
N08-I31 Installation of Slamgeesh Smolt Trap
N07-I09 Slamgeesh Weir Upgrade
The overall project is being utilized to restore sockeye production to higher levels while taking advantage of apparent underutilized rearing capacity in the lake.
Overall, it appears that substantial progress has been made with the King Salmon Lake enhancement program to date. In this regard, there appears to be opportunity to continue this initiative, moving it from experimental in nature towards practical application based upon positive results observed thus far.
N18-E03 King Salmon Lake sockeye enhancement Report
N16-E07 King Salmon Lake sockeye smolt survey 2016
N14-E05 King Salmon Lake, Year 3 (Egg Take)
N14-E05 King Salmon Lake, Year 3 (Survey)
N12-E10 King Salmon Lake – Sockeye Enhancement Project
The Skeena River is host to the second largest aggregate of Chinook salmon in British Columbia. While the aggregate is a PSC escapement indicator stock, there are no biologically based escapement goals for this population. This project provides an annual escapement estimate for the aggregate as well as for the large component stocks. The estimate produced is comparable with the historic estimates produced using an estimate of variance. The Tyee Test fishery, which has been conducted since 1955, provides data such as age information that is matched to the genetic information. The combination of stock specific escapements with age composition forms the basis for escapement goals and benchmarks.
The Kitsumkalum River hosts one of the major Chinook populations in the Skeena watershed, and is a PSC exploitation rate indicator stock. The mark-recapture estimate produced in in a separate project forms the cornerstone for the expansions of the stock compositions observed at the Tyee Test fishery.
The project consists of genetic analyses of samples from Chinook salmon caught at the Tyee Test fishery, and escapement data from the Kitsumkalum mark-recapture program. Chinook salmon scale samples will be collected from the Tyee Test Fishery and the DNA from the samples will be compared against genetic baselines from Skeena Chinook salmon populations. The proportion identified as Kitsumkalum Chinook will be expanded to generate escapement estimates for the Skeena River aggregate using the mark-recapture estimate of escapement for the Kitsumkalum population.
N20-I34 Chinook Salmon Escapement Estimation to the Skeena River Using Genetic Techniques 2020 IN PROGRESS
N19-I34 Chinook Escapement Estimation to the Skeena River Using Genetic Techniques 2019
N18-VHP09 Chinook Escapement Estimation to the Skeena River using Genetic techniques Report 2018
N17-VHP13 Chinook Salmon Escapement Estimation to the Skeena River Using Genetic Techniques Report 2017
N16-I33 Chinook Salmon Escapement Estimation to the Skeena River Using Genetic Techniques 2016. Year 8
N15-I27 Chinook Salmon Escapement Estimation to the Skeena River Using Genetic Techniques 2015. Year 7
SSP14-09 Chinook Salmon Escapement Estimation to the Skeena River Using Genetic Techniques 2014. Year 6
SSP13-06 Chinook Salmon Escapement Estimation to the Skeena River Using Genetic Techniques 2013
SSP12-05 Chinook Salmon Escapement Estimation to the Skeena River using Genetic Techniques 2012. Year 4
SSP11-01 Chinook Salmon Escapement Estimation to the Skeena River Using Genetic Techniques 2011. Year 3
SSP10-01 Chinook Salmon Escapement Estimation to the Skeena River Using Genetic techniques 2010. Year 2
SSP-4 Chinook salmon Escapement Estimation to the Skeena River using Genetic techniques (Year 1)
Concern for West Coast Vancouver Island (WCVI) natural Chinook currently limits PSC fisheries in Southeast Alaska, the Haida Gwaii recreational fishery and particularly the Area F troll fishery in northern British Columbia and troll fisheries and some recreational fisheries on the WCVI. Although the Burman River is enhanced, the population is of sufficient size to estimate the escapement with precision, and thermally marked otolith sampling provides an estimate of the naturally spawned fraction.
The program will estimate the escapement of adult Chinook salmon to the Burman River, a PSC Chinook escapement indicator, using both closed population and open population mark-recapture techniques refined between 2009-2014. The project will also quantify age, sex and origin compositions. Estimates of abundance of the thermally marked hatchery fraction combined with a precise escapement estimate will provide important information to verify and support the WCVI Aggregate ratio estimation project by providing an independent reference point (the Burman River Chinook hatchery fraction, independent of Robertson Creek Hatchery stock) in the northern WCVI area.
S18-VHP11 Spawning escapements and origin of Chinook salmon at Burman River Report 2018
S17-VHP13 Burman River Chinook salmon mark-recapture 2017
S16-I17 Burman River Chinook Salmon Mark-Recapture Report 2016. Year 8
S15-I06 Burman River Chinook Salmon Escapement Indicator Mark-Recapture Experiment, 2015. Year 7
S14-I13 Burman River Open population mark-recapture estimation of ocean-type Chinook spawning escapements WCVI Report 2014
SSP13-01 Burman River Chinook Salmon Total Escapement Estimation Project, 2013
SSP12-01 Preliminary - Burman River Chinook Salmon Total Escapement Estimation Project, 2012
SSP11-06 Burman River Chinook Salmon Total Escapement Estimation Project, 2011
SSP10-03A Burman River Chinook Salmon Total Escapement Estimation Project, 2010
SSP-1A/B Burman River Chinook Salmon Total Escapement Estimation Project, 2009 (Year 1)
A sockeye enhancement program has been ongoing at Tatsamenie Lake since 1990. A review of the program was funded by the Northern Fund in 2005, and in 2008, the Northern Fund began supporting the Extended Sockeye Fry Rearing Project.
The fry were originally reared in lake pens, but because of a devastating disease outbreak, the project shifted to onshore rearing systems beginning in 2009. The egg to smolt survivals of the fed fry have been variable but have ranged from 10% to 70%, or 5 to 15 times compared to wild fry, depending on fry behaviour after outplanting. Assessment of adult production from this project is ongoing. Smolt to adult survivals of the reared fry will be definitively determined with the return of the corresponding adults in the coming years, but to date, the adult production from reared fry has been lower than expected. This project continues to test a technique that has the potential of increasing production for other small scale sockeye salmon enhancement projects as well as rebuilding the Tatsamenie Lake sockeye stock in low brood year cycles.
Also at Tatsamenie Lake, the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans began a smolt enumeration program in 1996, and this ran continuously from 1998 through to 2011. The Northern Fund began supporting this program in 2012, and the two programs were combined in 2015. The combination allowed the Tatsamenie Lake sockeye smolt mark-recapture project to extend beyond its previous end date of June 30, through to the second week of September. This provides a more accurate smolt population estimate as well as increased precision of the estimated enhanced sockeye survival and production. This also allows for monitoring of potential early out-migration of the reared fry.
N19-E02 Tatsamenie Lake Sockeye Fry Rearing and Smolt Projects 2019 Report
N18-E07 Tatsamenie Lake Sockeye Fry Rearing and Smolt Report
N17-E01 Tatsamenie Lake Rearing Final Report
N16-E01 Tatsamenie Lake Sockeye Fry Rearing and Smolt Projects 2016
N15-E01 2015 Tatsamenie Lake Sockeye Fry Extended Rearing and Smolt. Year 11
N14-E01 2014 Tatsamenie Lake Sockeye Fry Extended Rearing. Year 10; N14-E06 2014 Tatsamenie Lake Smolt Project. Year 3
N13-E02 2013 Tatsamenie Lake Sockeye Fry Extended Rearing. Year 9
N13-E07 2013 Tatsamenie Lake Smolt Project. Year 2
Since 2007, with support from the Southern Boundary Restoration and Enhancement Fund, calibration work has been conducted on twenty-five Sockeye populations of various stream types in the Fraser and has led to the development of indices for aerially surveyed Sockeye populations on the following three stream types: i) medium sized, clear streams, ii) medium sized, partially turbid/tannic streams and iii) large sized, clear streams. Although this represents substantial progress, significant gaps still exist on the remaining stream types and lake spawning populations. Calibration work involves the comparison between estimates generated using high precision enumeration techniques (enumeration fences, sonar, and/or mark-recapture programs) and those generated using standard low precision visual techniques. As annual calibration opportunities on target populations are limited, calibration work over the long term will be required to satisfy the data requirements for all stream types. The actual populations to be calibrated will be determined based on in-season estimates of abundance.
S18-FRP03 Calibration of Visual Assessment Methods for Fraser River Sockeye Salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka)
S17-I06 Calibration of Visual Assessment Methods for Fraser River Sockeye Salmon Year 9
S16-I21 Calibration of Visual Assessment Methods for Fraser River Sockeye Report 2016
S15-I01 Calibration of Assessment Methods for Fraser Sockeye Enumeration 2015. Year 7
S14-I02 Calibration of Assessment Methods for Fraser Sockeye Enumeration 2014. Year 6
S13-I01 Calibration of Assessment Methods for Fraser Sockeye Enumeration 2013. Year 5
S12-I02 Calibration of Assessment Methods for Fraser Sockeye Enumeration 2012. Year 4
S11-I04 Calibration of Assessment Methods for Fraser Sockeye Enumeration 2011. Year 3
S10-I05 Calibration of Assessment Methods for Fraser Sockeye Enumeration 2010
S07-I05 Calibration of Assessment Methods for Fraser Sockeye Enumeration 2007
This joint project by NOAA and the University of Alaska Fairbanks evaluates the long term fitness of hatchery and wild sockeye salmon within a small watershed in Southeast Alaska. Concern over preserving wild stock fitness in enhancement project watersheds has been expressed in the case of both the Pacific Salmon Commission (PSC) Transboundary River Plans on the Taku and Stikine Rivers, and the PSC Northern Boundary Treaty Area of Southern Southeast Alaska (Hugh Smith and MacDonald Lakes). Measurement of the fitness effects and potential impact of such enhancement projects is needed to avoid long term undesirable effects on wild stocks. Initial genetic sampling and trial fish culture work in 2008, 2009, and 2010 showed potential for utilizing microsatellite and single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) markers to assess the parentage of Auke Lake sockeye and to identify the progeny of wild and enhanced fish, and this allows the evaluation of the survival and introgression, if any, of the enhanced fish into the wild population. Furthermore, we have demonstrated the ability to sample very close to 100% of the adult sockeye entering the system and provided a low impact design for sampling, capturing, maturing and spawning small numbers for use as brood stock in this study. During the summers of 2011, 2012 and 2013, we captured and held adult sockeye in the Auke Creek Research hatchery, and conducted experimental matings in all three years. We have incubated, cultured and released approximately 50,000 juvenile sockeye into Auke Lake in the springs of 2012, 2013, and 2014. Complete sampling of upstream migrating adult sockeye has occurred from 2008 thru 2015 and smolt sub-sampling has occurred in May and June of those years as well.
Beginning in 2016, additional objectives were added to cover the sampling, marking and recovery of coho salmon at Auke Creek. Because of the operational efficiencies and base support this was accomplished with a small budget increment. Auke Creek is the longest and most complete coho salmon time series in Southeast Alaska, and is used as an indicator of marine survival, harvest and productivity for coho in the region.
N17-I11 Genetic Changes Associated with In-basin Supplementation of Sockeye Report 2017
N16-I04 Genetic changes associated with in-basin supplementation of a population of sockeye (NOAA Component) 2016. Year 8
N15-I06 Genetic changes associated with in-basin supplementation of a population of sockeye salmon; Phase 3 (NOAA Component of Joint Proposal with UAF/ADFG McPhee/Gilk-Baumer). Year 7
N14-I05 Genetic Changes Associated with In-basin Supplementation of a Population of Sockeye Salmon; Phase 6 (NOAA Component of Joint Proposal). Year 6
N13-I05 Genetic changes associated with in-basin supplementation of a population of sockeye salmon; Phase 5, NOAA Component of Joint Proposal, Joyce (AFSC)
N12-I04 Genetic Changes Associated with In-basin Supplementation of Sockeye Salmon (NOAA Component). Year 4
N11-I10A Genetic Changes Associated with In-basin Supplementation of a Population of Sockeye Salmon; Phase 3 (UAF Component)
N10-I12 Genetic Changes Associated with In-basin Supplementation of a Population of Sockeye Salmon; Phase 2
N08-I26A Genetic Changes Associated with In-basin Supplementation of a Population of Sockeye Salmon; Feasibility (UA Fairbanks Component)
N08-I26B Genetic Changes Associated with In-basin Supplementation of a Population of Sockeye (NOAA Component)
While Fraser River sockeye salmon survival has declined over the past decade, it has also exhibited high interannual variability. The processes responsible for this trend and the variability are not understood and require investigation. This project builds on the previous work by adding a fifth year of sampling juvenile migrants immediately prior to their entry into the Strait of Georgia (SoG). The sampling platform will be identical to that employed successfully in 2013-2015, and GSI analysis will help to provide estimates of relative abundance and migration timing past Mission by stock. It is anticipated that sampling intensity in 2016, a juvenile Pink Salmon outmigration year, will be similar to that in 2014. In 2016, we propose to repeat the 2014 & 2015 study design and parameters assessed, including the assessment of the nocturnal migration patterns of Sockeye juveniles for a third year.
As in previous years, samples collected under this project will be compared to samples collected in other ongoing and proposed assessments, such as DFO’s annual SoG trawl survey occurring June-July and a similar trawl survey in Johnstone Strait. In combination, these three studies will add a third year to a comprehensive multi-stock assessment of Fraser River juvenile sockeye salmon relative abundance and condition, from nursery lake exit through early marine near-shore residency.
Sub-yearling ocean-migrant sockeye salmon (e.g. Harrison River stock) can be important contributors to Fraser River Sockeye production. The 2016 survey will continue to incorporate the bio-sampling of captured sub-yearling juveniles to identify their contribution, and migration timing at Mission by Conservation Unit (CU).
Lastly, the 2016 project will explore the feasibility of deploying an acoustic Doppler current profiler in an attempt to measure water current velocities over a depth range. This information may be important in determining absolute juvenile sockeye abundance at Mission.