British Columbia Source of Majority of King Salmon in Kodiak Area

logo-w-sunburstKayla Desroches/KMXT

The Board of Fisheries went over fisheries proposals and potential regulations at its meeting in Kodiak last week, but it also heard a presentation about the origin and migratory pathways of king salmon in the Kodiak management area.

The focus comes from a concern about poor king salmon returns and what that could mean about the health of salmon stocks.

The Chinook Salmon Research Initiative’s study, which continued from 2014 to 2016, looked at the marine sport fisheries in Kodiak and the commercial fisheries in Kodiak, Chignik, and the Alaska Peninsula.

Principal geneticist Chris Habicht explained scientists used genetics to trace samples back to their stock of origin.

“They have slight differences in frequency and the number of certain gene types, and so we look at that variation from population to population. Each population is going to have a fingerprint of these allele frequencies that’s different from one another, and that’s the information we’re trying to allocate back. That’s the information we’re trying to match from the mixture sample to the baseline.”

The report at the board meeting last week gave an overview only on the Kodiak area.

Fisheries geneticist Kyle Shed said over the three years of the study, they found that British Columbia dominated commercial Chinook stocks. The west coast united states group also contributed to the bulk of the harvest, with a smaller number from southeast Alaska, Cook Inlet, and Kodiak.

There were similar results for the Kodiak marine sport harvest, where stocks from British Columbia and the west coast came up on top, but were also roughly equal as opposed to the commercial fishery, where British Columbia was higher.

The Board of Fisheries will meet again next month in Anchorage.

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