Page 40 - Annual Report 2011

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4. 2011 Cruise Activities
Cruise activities including survey areas, tentative dates, and research objectives
are summarized in
Canada currently maintains two research programs on the marine biology
of Pacific salmon to understand the processes regulating their production
in the marine environment, the interactions between wild and hatchery-
reared salmon, as well as the impacts of ocean conditions and climate
The US will continue to monitor catch and escapement (where
available) and hatchery releases for salmon populations returning to
Pacific Northwest to coastal Alaska river systems. These data have
been provided each year to NPAFC for use in the annual Statistical
U-5: Development and Applications of Stock Identification Methods and
Models for Management of Pacific Salmon.
Research activities under this component are designed to find and
apply markers capable of identifying populations of salmon migrating
in the North Pacific Ocean and Bering Sea. Markers include both
the application of thermal ‘tags’ to otoliths of hatchery fish as well as
the naturally occurring DNA variation that describes wild populations.
Otolith protocols are well established. A continuing task for genetics
laboratories is to develop standardized methods of genetic analysis
among Parties. This standardization has been conveniently leveraged
by collaboration among agencies and universities working on Pacific
Salmon Commission studies. Both of these data types assist in
identifying the origins of stocks harvested in mixed-stock fisheries and in
determining the oceanic distribution of stocks.
In addition to continued monitoring of thermally marked salmon in
research activities outlined above and in U-1, the US will also continue
to collect and report on high-seas coded-wire tags (CWT) recovered
from both the Bering Sea and North Pacific Ocean. These CWT
recoveries come from research surveys by NPAFC member Parties and
from salmon caught as bycatch in US Gulf of Alaska and Bering Sea
Aleutian Islands groundfish fisheries. Recent analysis of over 4,000
high seas CWT recoveries of North American Chinook salmon for two
time periods, 1981-1995 and 1996-2010, suggest a slight westward
and northward shift in ocean distribution of this species that may be
reflective of global climatic changes in hydrological characteristics, or of
available food resources.