Annual Report 2009



  Contents  Introduction  EECM  Enforcement Workshop  |  RPCM  17th Annual Meeting People & Events  |  Appendices 


1. Time and Place of the Meeting
2. Participants
3. Research Plans and Cruise     Activities
4. Exchange Samples and Data
5. Sub-Committee and Working     Group Reports
   (a) Science Sub-Committee  
   (b) Stock Assessment  
   (c) Salmon Marking  
   (d) Stock Identification  
   (e) BASIS  
   (f) Salmon Tagging
6. Project Proposals for      External Fund-Raising
7. Symposia

2009 RPCM in session.
Photo by
NPAFC Secretariat

5. Reports from the Sub-Committee and Working Groups
(a)    Science Sub-Committee (SSC)

The Scientific Sub-Committee members met and considered two issues.

The first item was a report on the progress of the Long-term Research and Monitoring Plan (LRMP).  The project leader, R. Beamish reviewed the process and indicated that the final report is almost finished.  The final report will be circulated to LRMP Steering Committee members (T. Nagasawa, S. Kang, V. Radchenko, O. Temnykh, and E. Farley) within two weeks following this RPCM meeting.  Steering Committee members will then meet in Shiogama, Japan in mid or late June 2009 to review and approve the final report.  The time of this meeting will be arranged by email.  The approved report will be sent to the Moore Foundation by the deadline (August 15) and submitted as a document for the next NPAFC Annual Meeting in Niigata, Japan.

The second item was to establish a process to review the results of the current 2006-2010 NPAFC Science Plan by the next RPCM in spring 2010 and begin to draft the next 5-year Science Plan.  R. Beamish proposed that the Sub-Committee accept this responsibility and members agreed.  It is possible that the LRMP may be included as a part of the next 5-year Science Plan.


(b)    Working Group on Stock Assessment (WGSA)

The primary objective of the meeting was to finalise a plan to complete a stock assessment report by this fall’s annual meeting.  The agenda was:
1) Data and analyses planned for the stock assessment update (separate reports by each country).
2) Next steps for completion of assessment update
3) Proposed contributions to the 2nd PICES North Pacific Ecosystem Status Report
4) 2008 catch update

Following a discussion about scaling issues and information categories suitable for the NPAFC report, each country agreed to provide the following types of data in electronic format (Excel) by the end of May 2009: Data (catch to include pieces and weights) will cover the period 1952 (or as close as possible) – 2008.  Data files will be accompanied by a short description of the data provided, and possibly a preliminary interpretation of results.  The Chairman of WGSA J. Irvine will generate and distribute some graphs illustrating these results.  The Working Group agrees that the report will be completed in time for the next Annual Meeting in Niigata.  Assembling these data by end of May should also satisfy the request by PICES to provide catch data up to and including 2008.

  • Catch and escapement indicator time series data by species for Northern BC and Southern BC
  • Escapement indicator time series for Yukon
  • Marine survivals for coho, Chinook, and sockeye

  • Catch and release data time series for chum and pink salmon and release data for masu salmon from coastal Hokkaido Pacific Ocean side, coastal Hokkaido western side of Okhotsk Sea, coastal Honshu Pacific Ocean side, and coastal Honshu western side of Okhotsk Sea
  • Catch data time series for chum and pink salmon from: off shore Pacific Ocean side and offshore western side of Honshu and Hokkaido

  • For chum numbers released, coastal catch and catch in river, and return rates
  • For masu, numbers released as smolts

     United States
  • Indicator population escapement data and catch data from SE Alaska, Central Alaska, Western Alaska, AYK (Arctic/Yukon/Kuskokwim), Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and California

  • Catch, escapement, and release data since 1972 for 6 species from the following nine statistical areas: western Bering Sea, eastern Kamchatka, Kuriles, western Kamchatka, continental coast, Sakhalin coast, Amur Basin, Primor'e, and Southwestern Sakhalin
  • Russia also proposed assembling age structure information for sockeye, chum, and Chinook salmon from major areas but could not commit to doing this in time for this year’s report.


(c)    Working Group on Salmon Marking (WGSM)

The Working Group on Salmon Marking (WGSM) met via email.  V. Volobuev reported a summary of e-mail discussions on behalf of the working group.

1) Status of database of otolith mark releases
The chairperson (R. Josephson) shared a summary of the status of the NPAFC Otolith Mark Database with members. The database is much more complete than it was a year ago. All Parties have entered records up to brood year 2006. Russia, Canada, and some states in the United States still have not entered records for brood year 2007. Currently there have been 1.4 billion releases reported for the brood year 2007 releases. This compares to the last five years when approximately 1.5 billion releases have been reported per year. Images of otolith marks are also missing for all releases from the States of Washington and Oregon and recent years’ releases from Russia, and Canada.
2) Otolith mark plans for brood year 2009
Marking proposals for brood year 2009 have been received from Canada (Doc 1165), Japan (Doc 1163 (Rev. 1)), Russia (Appendix 3), and Alaska (Doc 1162 (Rev. 1)).  Korea mark plan has previously been agreed by the Parties.  The USA states of Washington and Oregon have not yet submitted plans for the 2009 brood year.  The numbers of fish released in Washington and Oregon are few and their process makes reporting plans very difficult.  Currently there are altogether ten conflict cases of coincident marks reported by Russia, Canada and USA.  Such marks are following: six of chum salmon (five marks coincide in Russia and Alaska; one in Russia and Canada), four of sockeye salmon (Russia and Alaska) and one of coho salmon (Russia and Alaska).  The WGSM will go on to adjust plans of marking via email.
3) Country reports
Canada – In British Columbia thermal marking continues to play an important role for both research and for fisheries management. For the 2009 brood year Canada is expecting to thermally mark approximately 63 million salmon. This will include 36 different thermal marks applied at 12 hatcheries and released from 45 locations (Doc. 1165). The plan is similar to that proposed in 2007 and to that carried out in 2008. British Columbia’s main production releases remain unchanged while a few smaller programs have seen some changes to their marking.

Japan – Approximately 178 million otolith-marked fish for 2008 blood year will be released from 18 Japanese hatcheries during spring of 2009. Images of otolith marks and other data of released fish will be made an update until the NPAFC annual meeting in this year and Japan plan to submit this document. The proposed otolith marks for the 2009 brood year salmon include 53 discrete thermal patterns and two n salmon (chum, pink, masu, and sockeye salmon) at 18 hatcheries. As the base mark, two rings in the first band have been adopted to distinguish Japanese chum and pink salmon from other stocks since 1999 brood year stock. Japan plans to survey otolith marks of chum salmon caught during research cruises in the North Pacific Ocean, Bering Sea and Chukchi Sea in the summer of 2009.

Korea – In April 2009, 500,000 thermally marked chum salmon juveniles for 2008 brood year have been released. Korea plans to mark chum salmon in 2009 using one unique thermal mark (Hatch code 3,1,2H; RBr code 1:1.3,2.1,3.2).

United States (for Washington State) reported that they are supporting the marking of over 57 million salmonids from brood year 2008 in Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Nevada. Numbers by species are Chinook salmon- 28.3 million with 24 marks, kokanee salmon – 14.3 million with ten marks, sockeye salmon – 3.3 million with six marks, chum salmon – 1.0 million with nine marks, and cutthroat trout 0.3 million with one mark. In addition they will mark 8.0 million Atlantic salmon with one mark; this species are not released, but are cultured in net pens until harvest.

United States (for Alaska) reported for brood year 2009, approximately 57 million sockeye salmon, 639 million pink salmon, 572 million chum salmon, six million coho salmon, and eight million Chinook salmon will be marked at 21 different hatcheries using 68 thermal marks. Alaska will submit a report summarizing releases in 2008 prior to the 2009 NPAFC Annual Meeting.

 Russia – Russia submitted a report by email outlining marking plans for brood year 2009 (Appendix 3). The plan to apply the following number of unique marks: chum - 39, Chinook - one, coho - eight, masu - three, sockeye - four, and pink - 23. Russia plans to accomplish otolith marking at 46 hatcheries in Kamchatka, Magadan region, Sakhalin and Khabaravosk region. At some Sakhalin hatcheries all released juveniles will be marked totally while at others only small portion for determining optimal date of good quality marks forming. Russia will submit a report summarizing releases for 2008 brood years by the 2009 NPAFC Annual Meeting.


(d)    Ad Hoc Working Group on Stock Identification (WGSI)

The ad hoc Working Group on Stock Identification (WGSI) did not meet at the RPCM in Sakhalin in 2009; updates from the Parties were received through correspondence.  The goals of the WGSI are to: (1) develop, standardize, and disseminate genetic and other databases among the Parties; (2) encourage the development of new genetic technologies; and (3) facilitate the dissemination of statistical techniques.  Extensive reports of research activities were made at the 2008 Annual Meeting and BASIS Symposium in Seattle.

  Canadian activities were previously summarized at the 2008 Annual Meeting.  At that time, Canada reported on its extensive baselines for microsatellites with between 40,000 and 70,000 individuals for the five main species.  They are conducting genetic stock identification projects in British Columbia and the Yukon River and also collecting SNP (single nucleotide polymorphisms) data for evaluation of accuracy and precision.  Recently, they have made some enhancements to the microsatellite baselines for all species, analyzed a range of mixed-stock samples, and surveyed SNPs in sockeye and Chinook salmon.


Reviews of status of baseline
Japanese scientists and their collaborators have updated of the mitochondrial DNA baseline of chum salmon.  A total of 96 populations of chum salmon around the Pacific Rim were included in the latest mitochondrial DNA baseline data (Yoon et al. 2008).  This baseline data was used for the study of genetic stock identification of chum salmon in the Bering Sea and North Pacific Ocean during summer and fall of 2002 and 2003 (Moriya et al. 2009).  In the 2008 NPAFC Annual Meeting, Canada reported its extensive baselines for microsatellites with between 40,000 and 70,000 individuals for the five main species.  The United States and Japan collaborated to establish the SNP baseline of chum salmon around the Pacific Rim.  Recently, the SNP baseline of chum salmon including more than 60 markers has been developed.

Genetic stock identification activity
Japan is focusing on genetic stock identification for high-seas chum salmon to evaluate the distribution and biomass of Japanese stocks.  The Fisheries Research Agency will conduct a research cruise in the Bering Sea and Chukchi Sea in the summer of 2009 to clarify the distribution pattern and northern limit distribution of Japanese chum salmon (Doc. 1159).  Genetic samples of sockeye salmon (request from Canada) and Chinook salmon (request from the United States) will be collected during this research cruise.

  Korea will report the progress of their genetic studies at the next Annual Meeting in Niigata.

     United States

Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADFG)
The Alaska Department of Fish and Game is actively pursuing the establishment of range-wide baselines of genetic markers for three Pacific salmon species: sockeye, chum, and Chinook.  These baselines are being developed in collaboration with many other laboratories in Asia and North America and have been used by ADFG to resolve stock composition in Alaska commercial, sport, and subsistence fisheries, bycatch in marine groundfish fisheries, and marine research studies.  The current status of the baselines is:
     Sockeye salmon – this range-wide baseline has recently been augmented to 349 populations represented by 47,400 individuals.  There are currently 46 SNPs being used in this baseline, but ADFG is collaborating with IPSEG to develop at least 55 more for use in sockeye applications.
     Chum salmon – this range-wide baseline has recently been augmented to 167 populations represented by 15,600 individuals.  There are currently 63 SNPs used in this baseline, but ADFG is collaborating with IPSEG to develop at least 33 additional SNPs to provide further resolution in chum salmon applications on many scales.
     Chinook salmon – this range-wide baseline contains 175 populations represented by 23,300 individuals.  There are currently 53 SNPs being used in this baseline, but it will soon be upgraded to include the 75 SNPs currently being used for applications in the United States/Canada treaty fisheries.

Auke Bay Laboratory (NOAA) and University of Alaska (UAF)
The UAF/ABL chum salmon baseline currently consists of 121 populations from throughout the Pacific Rim.  Samples were graciously contributed from many organizations and countries.  This genetic baseline utilizes the power of both microsatellite and SNP markers.  At this time, 23 SNP markers that represent 12 independent loci have been surveyed in all populations.  Regarding the microsatellite markers, 9 have been surveyed in 74 populations, and allele frequencies for an additional 25 populations will be included from the Canadian chum baseline.  In combination, 99 populations are currently represented by both marker types.  Preliminary results show that neither group of microsatellite or SNP markers are sufficient to discriminate all regions, but the combination of the two marker types provides better estimates than either alone.

University of Washington International Program for study of Salmon Ecological Genetics (IPSEG)
IPSEG continues to work with training of students, exploration of more efficient chemistries for SNP detection, and discovery of SNPs to increase resolving power in closely related populations.  This year they discovered over 25,000 SNPs in chum salmon, and they are validating these for information content in sets of 96.  They are focusing on SNPs of both Pacific Rim and regional importance along with interested collaborators from Japan, Korea, and USA.  They are also working to discover useful SNPs in steelhead, sockeye, coho and Chinook salmon to support baseline studies by Alaska and Washington.  They continue to work with Russian collaborators to support their development of a SNP baseline for sockeye salmon.  Finally, they are working closely with both ADFG and WDFW to enhance Pacific Rim baselines for chum, Chinook, sockeye, steelhead, and coho salmon through the addition of underrepresented populations.

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW)
Baselines – They have worked at expanding Chinook salmon and steelhead genetic baselines.  The Chinook baseline expansion includes adding data from 75 single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) assays for 3,464 Chinook adults from 31 Puget Sound populations to the existing “coast-wide” baseline.  The steelhead baseline effort includes adding data from 15 microsatellite loci and 36 SNP assays for 1760 steelhead in 28 collections drawn from 10 western Washington drainages.
     Genetic Markers – Efforts continue in multiple laboratories to expand the suites of SNP assays for Chinook, chum and coho salmon and steelhead.  WDFW and UW (IPSEG) are collaborating on the discovery and development of new SNP assays to distinguish between Puget Sound Chinook populations.  IPSEG is developing new SNP assays for chum and coho salmon.  Steelhead SNP discovery and assay development is ongoing in multiple US laboratories and currently over 100 assays are in use across the multiple laboratories.  WDFW is working on developing more SNP assays to distinguish between Puget Sound populations.
     Stock ID methods – WDFW is conducting a production-level evaluation of Parentage-based tagging, an application of genetic parentage analysis to distinguish between closely related hatchery stocks of Chinook salmon.  The evaluation includes 3,414 Chinook salmon adults that comprised the total spawning population at three Puget Sound hatcheries.

  Russia reported the identification of regional complexes of immature chum salmon local stocks in trawl surveys accomplished by RV "TINRO" in the course of BASIS in the Western Bering Sea (the EEZ RF) in 2004 and 2006.  A total of 3,411 individuals were identified whereas scale baseline database includes 8,039 chum salmon scale samples.  Russia is also continuing their work on genetic databases for sockeye salmon and going to develop a new database of pink salmon microsatellites to identify trawl catches in the Sea of Okhotsk.


(e)    BASIS Working Group (BASIS WG)
BASIS Phase II Plan
The BASIS Phase II plan was developed by the working group members (Doc. 1164).  The plan summarizes proposed research by Parties in the Bering Sea during 2009 to 2013.  BASIS will address the following key questions:
  1. How will climate change and climate cycles affect anadromous stocks, ecologically related species, and the Bering Sea ecosystems?
  2. What are the key climatic factors affecting cyclical changes in Bering Sea food production and pelagic fish communities?
  3. How will climate change and climate cycles impact the available salmon habitat in the Bering Sea?
  4. How will climate change and climate cycles affect Pacific salmon carrying capacity within the Bering Sea?
To address these questions, Parties proposed research cruises within the eastern and western waters and basin of the Bering Sea.  Benefits to NPAFC include:
  • BASIS phase II continues much needed pelagic ecosystem research in the Bering Sea to determine the impact of climate cycles and climate change on ecosystem function and structure.
  • BASIS phase II enables research to continue on all aspects of the effects of abiotic and hydrobiological factors on the marine period of life of Pacific salmon.
  • BASIS phase II directly addresses the key elements of the 2006-2010 NPAFC Science Plan and is a component of one of NPAFC’s scientific research themes.
  • BASIS phase II complements long-term climate, ocean, and ecosystem research and monitoring activities carried out within the framework of national and other international programs (PICES, NPRB, and GLOBEC).

The BASIS Phase II plan must be approved at the next Annual Meeting in Niigata.


(f)    Working Group on Salmon Tagging (WGST)
The Working Group on Salmon Tagging (WGST) had discussed by email communication the tagging plans in 2009, format for tagging database, and other items. Japan plans one tagging experiment in 2009; 1,500 NPAFC-logo disc tags (#2501-4000) were provided for the Wakatake maru cruise in June-July, while no other Parties plan tagging experiments at this time. The Secretariat noted that only 1,000 disc tags are stocked for future tagging experiments. The format of tagging database was discussed based on Doc. 1145.



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