Category: 2014

Burman River Chinook Salmon Mark-Recapture

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)

 

 

Evaluation of New Approaches to Estimate Ecstall Chum Escapement

Historically, the chum escapement in the Ecstall was believed to represent between 50 and 75% of the total reported for the Skeena–the Ecstall River is considered the largest chum spawning system in the Skeena watershed and has been identified as a priority for enumeration. However, following 2002 there was an almost 10-year gap in escapement estimates for Ecstall chum, and recent estimates indicate a decline. As such, Skeena chum are currently a stock of concern and lack the stock assessment data necessary to monitor trends in spawning abundance. Management actions aimed to reduce exploitation of Skeena chum have been initiated in recent years, but these also act as a constraint on August fisheries in the Skeena River.
Opportunities for visual chum escapement enumerations in the lower Skeena chum spawning areas (mainstem slough and lower river glacial tributaries) are often constrained by poor visibility. As a consequence, the success of aerial surveys of the Ecstall has been intermittent.  An improved annual estimate for Ecstall chum would greatly increase the confidence in the Skeena chum escapement estimations and allow better monitoring of future trends of this stock of concern.
Therefore, the objective of this project is to find the most reliable and consistent index of escapement for Ecstall chum. This project evaluated whether ground surveys and/or a mark recapture program are feasible as a more consistent alternative to aerial surveys.

N16-I11 Ecstall River Chum Escapement Report 2016. Year 4 of 4

N15-I18 Evaluation of New Approaches to Estimate Ecstall Chum Escapement. Year 3 of 4

N14-I18 Evaluation of New Approaches to Estimate Ecstall Chum Escapement. Year 2

N13-I23 Evaluation of New Approaches to Estimate Ecstall Chum Escapement

Zymachord River Coho CWT Harvest Distribution

Coho CWT and exploitation indicators play an important role in our understanding and management of coho in the northern boundary area. The lower Skeena coho have a distinctly different timing (mid-September) compared to the middle and upper Skeena coho (peak August 5th). There is considerable information from previous middle and upper Skeena coho CWT programs (Babine, Toboggan, Slamgeese and Kitwanga), but there have been no previous CWT programs for the lower river late-timed stocks. We currently assume the lower Skeena stocks have similar distribution and harvest impacts as the former Lachmach (outside Area 3) and current Zolzap (lower Nass River tributary) stocks.
This project is intended to define harvest patterns of Zymacord River coho in Alaskan and Canadian fisheries that have CWT recovery programs. The program will not include the determination of CWTs in the escapement, and so will not directly provide exploitation rates. However, given the long history from the Skeena and Area 3 and 6 historic and current exploitation rate indicators, the timing and distribution of the harvest CWT recoveries alone are expected to be adequate to define the harvest impacts.

 

N16-I12 Zymachord River Coho CWT Harvest Distribution. Year 3 of 4

N15-I19 Zymachord River Coho CWT Harvest Distribution. Year 2 of 4

N14-I21 Zymachord River Coho CWT Harvest Distribution

 

Kitwanga River Sockeye Enumeration

The Kitwanga River is a biologically rich tributary of the Skeena River that produces a significant portion of the overall Skeena salmon that return each year. Kitwanga River sockeye are of significant importance because they are genetically unique, and Gitanyow Lake, in the Kitwanga watershed, is one of the ten largest sockeye producing lakes in the Skeena Watershed. Kitwanga sockeye are also considered a conservation unit as defined in Canada’s Wild Salmon Policy. Historically, Kitwanga sockeye numbered in the tens of thousands, but due to drastic declines in abundance, Kitwanga sockeye are no longer directly fished commercially or harvested for Food, Social and Ceremonial purposes.
The enumeration of Kitwanga sockeye has been ongoing since 2000, first through the operation of a temporary fence in the upper part of the watershed, and then through the operation of the Kitwanga River Salmon Enumeration Facility (KSEF) located near the mouth of the Kitwanga River. The KSEF has been in operation for the last 12 years and has proven to be an extremely important in-season/post-season fisheries management tool. Despite this, no long-term funding has been secured to operate the KSEF on a yearly basis. In the past few years, the cost to operate the facility has been variously shared by the Gitanyow Fisheries Authority, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Pacific Salmon Commission, Pacific Salmon Foundation and Skeena Wild Conservation Trust.

N19-I41 Kitwanga River Salmon Enumeration Facility (KSEF) – 2019 Report

N18-I31 Kitwanga River Salmon Enumeration Report 2018

N17-I28 Kitwanga River Salmon Enumeration Report 2017

N16-I40 Kitwanga River Salmon Enumeration Report 2016

N15-I36 Kitwanga River Salmon Enumeration, 2015

N14-I25 Kitwanga River Salmon Enumeration, 2014

N08-I17 Kitwanga River Sockeye Salmon Enumeration, 2008

N07-I18 Kitwanga River Sockeye Salmon Enumeration, 2007

N06-I39 Kitwanga River Sockeye Salmon Enumeration, 2006

N05-I01 Kitwanga River Sockeye Salmon Enumeration 2005

NP11 Kitwanga sockeye enumeration, 2004

 

 

Tatsamenie Lake Sockeye Fry Extended Rearing and Smolt Enumeration

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

Calibration of Assessment Methods for Fraser Sockeye Enumeration

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

 

Genetic changes associated with in-basin supplementation of a population of Sockeye salmon

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)

 

Recovery Enhancement of Kilbella-Chuckwalla Chinook

Rivers Inlet Chinook are harvested in recreational fisheries, commercial and subsistence fisheries in BC and Alaska, and some of the largest Chinook salmon caught in marine waters originate from Rivers Inlet streams. This project is consistent with the 3rd goal of the Northern Fund, specifically, to enhance wild stock production through low technology techniques using capacity in existing facilities. This project is a 5-year enhancement program for Kilbella-Chuckwalla Chinook that will promote production for a wild stock that is currently well below its production potential without creating any long-term operational obligations.

N19-E06 Kilbella/Chuckwalla Chinook Salmon Stock Recovery Enhancement 2019 Report

N18-E04 Kilbella/Chuckwalla Chinook Salmon Stock Recovery Enhancement Report

N17-E04 Recovery Enhancement of Kilbella-Chuckwalla Chinook 2017-18

N16-E02 Recovery Enhancement of Kilbella-Chuckwalla Chinook Report 2016-17

N15-E03 Recovery Enhancement of Kilbella-Chuckwalla Chinook, 2015-16

N14-E09 Recovery Enhancement of Kilbella-Chuckwalla Chinook Report 2014-15

Continuing the evaluation of abundance and stock composition of downstream migrating juvenile Sockeye Salmon in the lower Fraser River

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.

Migration Timing of Juvenile Fraser River Sockeye in Johnstone Strait

In 2014, Fisheries and Oceans Canada proposed a 3-year program to evaluate the effect of smolt size and age on the migration timing of Fraser River Sockeye Salmon out of the Strait of Georgia by conducting a weekly sampling program in southern Johnstone Strait with a purse seine. We proposed to use DNA analyses to infer stock-specific migration timing through this area and, combined with the sampling in the Lower Fraser River (Evaluation of abundance and stock composition of downstream migrating juvenile Sockeye Salmon in the lower Fraser River), provide accurate estimates of residence time within the Strait of Georgia at the Conservation Unit (CU) level. In addition, by examining changes in the relative abundance of different CUs between the lower Fraser River and Johnstone Strait, this study was expected to determine whether mortality rates differ among CUs within the Strait of Georgia. In addition, we proposed to assess the feasibility of using hydroacoustics as a tool to monitor how the abundance of juvenile Salmon changes over time in this area.

S16-I25 Migration timing of juvenile Fraser River sockeye in Johnstone Strait Interim Report 2016