Improving in-season pink salmon assessment through the collection of Fraser River pink salmon DNA baseline data

Historical data indicate that upper Fraser River pink salmon stocks return to the Fraser River earlier than lower Fraser River pink stocks. Given the differential migration timing between upper and lower Fraser River pink salmon, stock proportion estimates could provide in-season indications of timing for the total pink salmon run. This would improve the in-season assessment of pink salmon run size early in the season, when it is notoriously difficult to differentiate  between a run that is early and small or late and large.
Current pink salmon genetic stock identification (GSI) has focused on estimating the proportion of Fraser River versus non-Fraser pink salmon. Further differentiation between early/upper and late/lower Fraser River pink salmon stocks will require additional baseline samples from the spawning grounds. To obtain these data, we intend to hire temporary staff
to visit spawning sites for pink salmon in the Fraser River and collect new tissues for DNA analysis, targeting particular spawning areas that are represented poorly in the current DNA baseline by old samples of questionable quality. DNA will be extracted from these tissues and genotypes will be collected at 16 microsatellite loci to augment and/or replace (as appropriate) the current baseline.