Chum Salmon Hatchery/Wild Interactions

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game in concert with Alaska Salmon Hatchery Operators and financial support from the salmon processing community has undertaken a long-term study concerning interactions of hatchery and natural origin salmon in natural systems. Samples have been collected from 4 chum salmon streams in Southeast Alaska (SEAK) for studies of potential relative difference in survival of offspring between hatchery and wild fish spawning in wild stock streams. This information will allow us to assess the ecological and genetic consequences of hatchery strays on fitness of wild spawners at the drainage scale. Evaluation of this scale is important because it will provide insight into how much these consequences can vary locally (and, potentially, why). Adult chum were sampled in 2013 and 2014 to establish genetic markers for identification of progeny in subsequent years. Otolith analysis reveals if a spawner is of hatchery or natural origin and tissue samples will be used to identify parentage of progeny beginning in 2017 and continuing in 2018 – 2023. Fish spawning in the 4 study streams will be similarly sampled for two complete generations; for chum salmon, sampling in each stream will occur over 11 years with the goal to sample F1 and F2 progeny from the first years of the project.