Tags Versus Genetics : Identifying Which Tool Provides the Best Information about Chinook Salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) Distributions in the California Current Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/qn59q670b

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  • The movement of Chinook salmon through space and time, across political boundaries, and through fisheries, creates one of the most complex marine resource management problems in the world. Information garnered from the recovery of coded-wire tags (CWTs) has been used since the 1970s to direct management decisions. Growing concern surrounding the quality and limitations of CWT data spurred interest in technologies that may improve stock specific information for Chinook salmon. Genetic stock identification (GSI) is one of the rapidly growing technologies with significant potential for generating information that could be used in addition to CWT data to improve salmon management. This is the first study to explicitly compare the capabilities of CWT and GSI data to identify stock-specific distribution patterns of Chinook salmon. Our results demonstrate that GSI data are a powerful tool that can be used to investigate stock-specific Chinook distributions at refined space-time scales that cannot be investigated with traditionally reported CWT data. Additionally, we found that, at coarse space-time scales, CWT and GSI data provide similar stock distribution information, lending support to the critical assumption that CWT data reflect the distribution patterns of the untagged fish they are intended to represent. As a by-product of this comparison, we describe the distribution and migration patterns of the Chinook stocks most commonly encountered in the commercial fishery off the coasts of Oregon and California. GSI and other 21st century genetics-based tools have potential to play a critical role in improving salmon management regimes of the future.
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