Data acquired through sampling of the Lower Stikine River Canadian commercial and assessment fisheries are central elements of the Stikine River fishery management and stock assessment programs. Sampling involves the inspection for and recovery of coded-wire tag (CWT) information which is used in the estimation of smolt production of Chinook and coho salmon, the inspection for and recovery of spaghetti tags from Chinook to support abundance metrics, the collection of otoliths from sockeye to estimate contributions of enhanced sockeye salmon, the collection of egg diameter data to determine the contribution of Tahltan Lake sockeye salmon, and the collection of age, sex, and length samples from Chinook, sockeye and coho salmon caught in the fisheries. These baseline stock assessment data are used for stock recruitment analyses, preseason forecasting programs for Chinook and sockeye salmon, and monitoring stock health.
U.S. fisheries in Southeast Alaska (SEAK) harvest stocks of Chinook salmon bound for river systems in Alaska, Canada, and the continental U.S. Thus, fisheries in SEAK are managed under the purview of the Pacific Salmon Treaty (PST), in which an abundance-based management framework is used for Chinook fisheries. This requires management to have access to reliable information on stock-specific catch, escapement, and recruitment to forecast indices of abundance in PST fisheries.
This project aims to improve fishery management and provide independent estimates of stock composition in commercial troll and sport Chinook salmon fisheries in Southeast Alaska. Further, the project will take the analysis beyond basic estimation of stock composition by combining genetic assignment of individuals from selected stocks and fisheries with their associated age and mark information to provide additional information about Chinook salmon in SEAK fisheries for Chinook Technical Committee needs. This type of information has been used to measure the effectiveness of management actions in SEAK as well as to contribute to applications outside of SEAK (e.g. estimating age-specific terminal returns of stock groups and forecasting returning run sizes). This project is an integral part of a larger SEAK genetic stock identification program for Chinook salmon, which includes comprehensive coverage of major gillnet, troll, and sport fisheries.
N19-I09A Origins of Chinook Salmon Harvested in Southeast Alaska Fisheries, 2019 Report
N18-VHP02 Origins of Chinook Salmon Harvested in Southeast Alaska Fisheries, 2018 Report
N17-VHP07 Origins of Chinook harvested in SEAK fisheries Report 2017
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
We propose to radio tag a minimum of 500 large adult (≥ 45 cm) Sockeye Salmon from two fishwheels operated at Gitwinksihlkw between 1 June and mid-September in proportion to abundance passing the fishwheels, with a goal of obtaining a non-Meziadin sample size of 100–200 fish. Any radio tags recovered at the Meziadin Fishway, Gingit Creek spawner surveys, and in harvest fisheries will be reapplied at the fishwheels to increase the sample size of non-Meziadin fish tagged. We estimate that between 700 and 900 radio-tagged Sockeye Salmon would be released in this study, including reapplied tags (~350 are estimated for reapplication). Radio-tagged Sockeye Salmon will also be tagged with secondary marks (spaghetti tag and adipose fin hole punch) to determine any radio tag losses, and scale samples will be collected for genetic stock identification and aging purposes.
We propose to analyze DNA (scales) data collected from Sockeye Salmon at the Nass fishwheels to:
1) compare genetic stock composition results with aggregate mark-recapture population estimates;
2) assess differences between aggregate and observed run size estimates for Meziadin and non-Meziadin spawners;
3) evaluate the returns of the Kwinageese stock that is recovering from a spawning migration barrier detected and remediated in 2011 and subsequently had poor returns;
4) develop a data set for substock harvest rate analyses for Nass Sockeye; and
5) support a radio telemetry study.
The information generated from this study will benefit Pacific Salmon and Nisga’a Treaties in guiding future fisheries that harvest Nass Sockeye Salmon, making escapement goals each year, maximize protection of Nass Sockeye stocks, and optimize production of returns for the future.
The Nass Area Coastal Coho Escapement Project will improve escapement data and further enable fishery managers to more accurately estimate harvests of this important species in commercial, recreational, and First Nation fisheries. The data will also improve the quality of information available to inform management decisions and aid in the sustainability of Nass Area Coho stocks in the future. This will be become increasingly important as industrial pressures within the marine areas of the Nass Area continue to mount due to mining, hydro-electricity, port development at Stewart, shipping, and pipelines. Improving our understanding of the abundance for Nass Area Coastal Coho stocks is imperative for understanding and mitigating the potential effects of these development pressures on Nass Area Coastal Coho.
N18-I28 Coastal and Lower Nass Coho Salmon Escapement Surveys Report
N15-I49 Nass Coastal Coho Salmon Escapement Report 2015 & 2016
Genotyping by sequencing (GBS) is a type of DNA sequencing technology that allows the genotype of an individual to be determined by direct DNA sequencing. This direct method of genotyping individuals has radically changed the techniques used to genotype individual fish in stock identification applications. The benefits of this technique are that several hundred markers per individual can be routinely screened for genotyping, and at a cost equivalent to or lower than that currently prevailing in stock identification applications. Screening more markers provides increased resolution for stock identification applications.
The project proposes to estimate stock composition in mixed-stock fishery samples from commercial and recreational Coho Salmon fisheries in northern and central coastal British Columbia with the new SNP baseline and will use a combination of both parentage-based tagging (PBT) and genetic stock identification (GSI) to estimate stock compositions. Fisheries to be targeted include the commercial ice boat and freezer troller fishery off Haida Gwaii, as well as the recreational fishery off Langara. In addition, the recent demonstration troll fishery in the central coast of BC will be sampled, as well as the recreational fishery in the central coast. The project would entail genotyping of 4,000 Coho Salmon sampled from mixed-stock fisheries in the different areas. The estimated contribution of each of the 39 Coho Salmon Conservation Units (CUs) defined for British Columbia south of the Taku River (baseline also includes Alsek CU) will be estimated for each fishery stratum sampled, as well as regional estimates for Coho Salmon originating from southeast Alaska, Washington, the Columbia River, and Oregon.
N20-I37 Assessment of mixed-stock fisheries for coho in north and central BC via parentage-based tagging and GSI 2020 Report
N19-I37 Assessment of mixed-stock fisheries for coho in north and central BC via parentage-based tagging and GSI 2019 Report
N18-I24 Estimation of stock composition of Coho in northern and central coastal fisheries in BC Report 2018
The primary goals of this project are to bilaterally review stock assessment work on the Taku River and make recommendations for improving the program, and to reevaluate the escapement goal for Taku River sockeye salmon.
The Taku River is a large and complex system, with multiple tributaries and lake systems, as well as inriver indigenous, personal use, subsistence, and commercial sockeye salmon fisheries, which create special challenges for mark-recapture work in the drainage and for escapement goal analysis. Improvements to inseason and total escapement estimates of sockeye salmon on the Taku River will affect all aspects of fisheries management and lead to more efficient and sustainable utilization of the resource by the U.S. and Canada. Among the stock assessment challenges that will be examined by the review team includes issues with tag loss, tag-induced mortality, and tag misidentification or nonreporting in the mark-recapture project, fish sampling protocols at the Canyon Island fish wheels, improving estimates of the distribution of mainstem and tributary spawners in the drainage, and assessing weir projects on Canadian tributaries. Additionally, methodologies to compliment the current program will be explored with the intention of strengthening both inseason and post season estimates of Taku River sockeye salmon.
N19-I30A Taku River Sockeye Stock Assessment and Escapement Goal Review Part II - 2019 Report
N18-I19B Taku River Sockeye Stock Assessment and Escapement Goal Review Report
The Tahltan Lake weir project monitors sockeye salmon escapement in the most important Stikine River sockeye spawning Lake. In 1993, the Transboundary Technical Committee (TTC) established an escapement goal of 24,000 fish for the Tahltan stock, which takes into account an escapement of 20,000 naturally spawning fish and up to 4,000 fish needed for broodstock to meet objectives of the Canada/U.S. Stikine River enhancement program. When coupled with stock identification techniques, an accurate count of Tahltan Lake sockeye permits estimation of escapement drainage-wide.
It is the primary tool for identifying whether or not both Tahltan Lake and Stikine River mainstem escapement goals have been achieved. Tahltan Lake counts are used to forecast future adult sockeye salmon production and will guide management actions in subsequent years through abundance based management. Data gathered through this project is also used to determine appropriate egg-take levels at Tahltan Lake designed to boost adult production in the Stikine River through the joint Transboundary sockeye enhancement program.
N20-I19 Stikine River - Tahltan Lake Sockeye Salmon Adult Enumeration 2020 Report
N19-I20 Stikine River Watershed - Tahltan Lake Adult Sockeye Enumeration, 2019 Report
N18-I17 Stikine - Tahltan Lake Adult Sockeye Enumeration Report 2018
N17-I19 Tahltan Lake Adult Sockeye Enumeration 2017
For the Stikine main-stem sockeye stock, relationships of terminal run estimates to patterns of distribution and timing are examined. Such is inclusive of the aerial survey of six sockeye salmon spawning indices to serve as ancillary escapement information.
For Stikine River coho salmon there remains a lack of reliable escapement, marine survival and U.S. harvest data. As a result, the annual run size cannot be quantified. Therefore, the aerial survey of six coho index sites provides at least some indication of return size compared to rough estimations of historical average.
N18-I13 Stikine sockeye and coho aerial surveys Report 2018