The Cohen Inquiry into the Decline of Fraser Sockeye in 2009 identified many stressors that affect Fraser Sockeye survival, including predation, disease, contaminants, climate change, fisheries, hatchery competition, aquaculture, and freshwater stressors. The mechanisms through which these stressors negatively affect salmon have been well documented. However, as the Cohen Inquiry concluded, we continue to lack clear understanding of the population level impacts of these stressors on survival.
A better understanding of population-level consequences can be gained by isolating stressors to examine their effects. This is attained by identifying responses across populations whose distributions overlap in time and space, in alignment with those stressors. Currently, we do not have the ability to efficiently compare survival responses across Fraser Sockeye populations, since the data are not consolidated or organized at appropriate spatial and temporal scales to link salmon populations across their freshwater and marine life stages. Further, there are currently no user friendly tools to effectively isolate stressors through data exploration.
To address these significant gaps, we propose to build the Salmon Pattern Analysis Tool (SPAT). SPAT is a statistical tool that will enable users to investigate stressors affecting population-level survival through examining trends across salmon populations according to user-defined filters. Project funding will be used to design, build, evaluate, and refine SPAT for Fraser River Sockeye.