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Developing a Bioeconomic Model to Assess the Impact of Genomics on Coho Salmon Recreational Fisheries in British Columbia Public Deposited

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  • Coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch) were once a thriving species in Southern British Columbia, providing cultural, economic and ecological benefits to First Nations and coastal communities. Nonetheless, with Coho salmon abundance starting to dwindle dramatically in the 1990s, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) decided to implement radical conservation measures aimed at protecting wild Coho. While virtually no catch were being reported by commercial fleets after the closure of directed commercial fisheries in 1998, the recreational Coho salmon fishery saw its landings decrease by more than 60%, threatening the quality of fishing experiences sought after by both resident and non-resident anglers. Nowadays, although recreational fishing accounts for more than 50% of total Coho salmon landings in British Columbia, the once lucrative angling industry is increasing its dependence on hatcheries. Despite high levels of introductions into the wild, hatchery-produced Coho exhibit strikingly low marine survival rates. Such a situation prompted new scientific approaches that employ genomic technologies for identifying genetically distinct Coho populations, as well as beneficial traits associated with fitness and resilience, among others. In offering an economic perspective on the capacity of genomic management tools to both enhance hatchery production of Coho salmon and revive wild stocks, this paper aims to assess the socioeconomic impacts of such technology adoption on the recreational fishing sector in British Columbia. Combining stock-recruitment predictions with economic indicators proper to Coho, a bioeconomic model is used to investigate three different scenarios, showing promising signs of Coho recovery and greater socioeconomic prospects for anglers.
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  • Seattle, Washington, USA
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