Category: Southeast Alaska

Juneau Area Recreational Chinook Fisheries Interim Funding

DIPAC took over raising Chinook salmon for the Juneau Area Recreational Chinook program from ADF&G in 1994 when Snettisham Salmon Hatchery was being converted to a sockeye facility, and a cooperative agreement has been in place ever since for production of Chinook around Gastineau Channel in District 111. Prior to this cooperative agreement, the State operated this recreational fisheries program since 1986. Maintaining Chinook production is an important aspect of DIPAC and ADF&G’s relationship with the Juneau fishing community by providing harvest opportunity. Although this program is intended primarily for sportfish enhancement, it provides direct and tangible benefits to local sport and commercial groups alike. The harvest of hatchery fish throughout Juneau, or specifically in Terminal Harvest Areas, at times provides the only fishing access for Chinook when there are other more restrictive management actions to protect wild stocks as has been the case in recent years with conservative management measures in place to protect the transboundary Taku River stock and the Chilkat River stock. These funds will go directly into rearing and releasing healthy Chinook smolt into Juneau waters.

Maintaining Chinook production at Crystal Lake Hatchery

Chinook salmon produced at Crystal Lake Hatchery support commercial and marine sport fisheries in District 108 and 103, along with terminal sport fisheries near the communities of Petersburg, Wrangell and Craig. Hatchery production from this facility has become increasing important in recent years as Southeast Alaska and Transboundary River stocks have experienced a persistent period of poor productivity resulting in the designation of several Stocks of Concern and subsequent harvest restrictions. These harvest restrictions were put in place to achieve escapement goals per State of Alaska policy and per Treaty obligations specified in Chapter 1 and Chapter 3 of the 2019 Treaty Agreement and have resulted in significant impacts on the coastal communities reliant on Chinook salmon. There is no doubt that this is a critically needed facility, the loss of which would be catastrophic for Southeast chinook fishers. The requested funds will support the production of 1,700,000 Chinook, maintaining releases from Crystal Lake (600,000), City Creek in Petersburg (100,000), Anita Bay (500,000), and Port Saint Nicholas (500,000).

SSSC Spawning and Incubation Facility (SPIFy)

This project will assure the efficiency of an operation that contributes pink, chum, coho and chinook salmon to commercial fishermen in the waters of Southeast Alaska. This enhancement project will put salmon into the common property fisheries of Sitka Sound. Salmon that have originated from the Sitka Sound Science Center Sheldon Jackson (SJ)Salmon Hatchery have demonstrated in recent years to be financially beneficial to the commercial fleet of Southeast Alaska. The Sitka Sound Science Center’s Spawning and Incubation Facility (SpIFy) will co-locate incubation and spawning in one area which will not only increase efficiency by utilizing existing technology to produce salmon that will return to Sitka Sound and caught by fishermen from the region, but it will also create a stronger research facility for examination of these stocks in the future.

Second-generation consequences of hatchery enhancement of sockeye salmon in Auke Creek, Alaska

This project is motivated by the overarching goal of understanding the effects of hatchery supplementation on the long-term fitness of sockeye salmon in the transboundary region subject to enhancement under the Pacific Salmon Treaty. The immediate goal is to optimize and test a new method to quickly and efficiently genotype large numbers of sockeye salmon for comprehensive parentage assignment, in order to quantify the second-generation effects of hatchery supplementation on fitness in the wild population. This project is to be performed at Auke Creek, Juneau, Alaska where a permanent weir offers unmatched sampling opportunities.

Snettisham Central Incubation Facility Water Chiller Upgrade for Transboundary River Sockeye Enhancement Program

Snettisham Central Incubation Facility (CIF) raises sockeye salmon fry for the Transboundary River (TBR) enhancement program, domestic smolt for the United States fishing fleet, and fry for a small lake stocking program for a personal use fishery at Sweetheart Creek. Chilled water is necessary for all programs on site to rear healthy, viable fry and to thermally mark fish such that hatchery fish can be distinguished from their wild-origin cousins. At this time, the two water chillers at Snettisham CIF are in need of replacement. The existing chillers were used units prior to being installed at Snettisham CIF over 30 years ago, and replacement parts are becoming more difficult to locate and will soon be obsolete. With the recent warming climate, the Snettisham CIF chiller system has been put under increasing stress to keep up with the various aspects of the sockeye enhancement programs on site.
For the TBR program, eggs are collected in Canada, fertilized and transported to Snettisham CIF for overwinter incubation and otolith marking. As the lakes in Canada typically do not reach ice-out until May or early June, having an efficient chilling system is an integral part of the operation to make sure the
fry do not emerge from their incubators with much time before the lakes are ready to accept them. In recent years, fry have emerged early due to warmer water conditions and old, inefficient chiller units, and the fry must be fed to survive until ice out on the lakes. As the Snettisham CIF is not set up well for long
term rearing of TBR fry, new chillers are necessary to make certain the TBR sockeye enhancement program that Treaty obligations for sockeye enhancement are met, and to ensure healthy fry are delivered back to the Canadian lakes in a timely fashion for the best possible freshwater survival.

Salmonscape Workshop: scoping a life history approach to assessing and modelling freshwater and marine bottlenecks to inform salmon management

We propose a workshop to review the current approaches to assessing and modelling salmon survival across freshwater/coastal and marine life history stages and to recommend options that will inform the host of management tools/processes that require consideration of the full life history. We will bring together experts possessing experience with these techniques to share their knowledge in a structured manner. Case studies drawn from Pacific Salmon Treaty stocks that have requisite information will be developed that can be used to test the modelling approach. A Workshop Technical Planning Team will be convened from North Pacific Anadromous Fish Commission -International Year of the Salmon partner government agencies, NGO’s and academia to ensure relevance of the work to management and to assist in identifying a complete complement of experts. Experts will include representatives from Pacific Salmon Commission Secretariat staff and Technical Committees (Chinook, Coho, Chum and Sockeye). We will support travel for experts from Asia, Canada, Europe and the U.S. to attend. It will be essential for us to incorporate approaches to understanding freshwater and marine ecosystem status with Indigenous Peoples. Additionally, we will assess the potential for the development of new and emerging technologies and citizen science to augment this work.

Mixed Stock Analysis of Alaska Troll and Sport Chinook Salmon Fisheries

U.S. fisheries in Southeast Alaska (SEAK) harvest stocks of Chinook salmon originating from 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. This type of information has been used to measure the effectiveness of management actions in SEAK by combining genetic stock identification (GSI) with CWT information to estimate the harvest of wild SEAK stocks, 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 GSI program for Chinook salmon, which includes comprehensive coverage of major gillnet, troll, and sport fisheries. The objective of this project is to use GSI to determine the stock composition of fish harvested in the SEAK Chinook salmon fisheries.

Alaska Sockeye Salmon Genetic Baseline Update Taku/Stikine Mainstem

The Stikine and Taku rivers in Southeast Alaska support sockeye salmon runs important for various commercial and aboriginal fisheries in both the United States (U.S.) and Canada. Sockeye salmon from these rivers are harvested in Canadian aboriginal, recreational, and commercial gillnet fisheries, and in U.S. subsistence, personal use, and commercial gillnet fisheries. By updating the sockeye genetic baseline for Taku and Stikine rivers with novel genetic markers, we aim to differentiate between mainstems stocks in the Taku and Stikine and improve stock assessment. Stock contribution estimates are critical to document compliance with the harvest sharing agreements, reconstruct runs of wild stocks, estimate the return of enhanced fish, forecast upcoming returns, and support sustainable management.

Alaska Coho Salmon Genetic Baseline

The overarching goal of this multi-year project is to develop a coho salmon genetic baseline for genetic stock identification (GSI) of Alaska commercial and sport harvest. The ability to account for stock-specific harvest will aid in the development of brood tables and escapement goals for coho salmon in Southeast Alaska (SEAK). This proposal will cover the first two years of intensive field sampling to obtain genetic samples from spawning populations of coho salmon throughout SEAK, focusing on transboundary Taku and Stikine rivers and the Northern Boundary Area. Future proposals will seek funds to genotype these samples and add them to Alaska’s growing coho salmon genetic baseline.

Productivity, migration timing, and survival of sockeye, coho, and pink salmon at Auke Creek

The goal of this project is to examine the productivity, migration timing, and survival of sockeye, coho, and pink salmon through support of essential operations at the Auke Creek Research Station in Juneau, Alaska, USA. The Auke Creek Research Station maintains a 40-plus year time series of biological and environmental data related to the timing and productivity of Pacific salmon. The weir at Auke Creek operates annually from mid-February through the end of October, with a base function of enumerating virtually 100% of outmigrating salmon fry and smolt species and returning adults. Along with basic counts, migrating fishes are subsampled for age and growth, sex, length, and genetics throughout the season. Auke Creek is the longest and most complete coho salmon time series in Southeast Alaska and is used as a regional indicator of marine survival, harvest, and productivity. Additionally, the complete enumeration of sockeye and pink salmon juveniles and returning adults provide indices of productivity that help inform science and management of those species in the Transboundary Rivers and Northern Boundary regions of the Pacific Salmon Treaty.