OSU helps fishermen find healthy stocks of salmon
OSU researchers use DNA profiles to help fishermen avoid endangered salmon
Large closures to commercial salmon fisheries have jeopardized industry and community vitality. Such lengthy closures could be avoided if up-to-the-moment data were available to distinguish stocks at sea.
Through the Collaborative Research on Oregon Ocean Salmon project, Oregon State University researchers used genetic fingerprints to determine locations of weak and healthy stocks. They've found patterns suggesting that fish from certain rivers move in "pulses" through the ocean. This kind of real-time tracking will help fisheries managers direct fishing toward robust populations of salmon and away from endangered stocks.
The OSU Extension Service worked with fishery managers to train Oregon and California fishermen in new data-collection methods, including first-ever catch-and-release methods in closed areas, to record the location of salmon at sea. More than 400 commercial fishers participated in the sampling, receiving over $1 million in compensation.
The West Coast fishing industry landed $20 million of ocean salmon in 2012, the ninth lowest level on record.
Sources: Pacific Fishery Management Council's Review of 2012 Ocean Salmon Fisheries report; Collaborative Research on Oregon Ocean Salmon project.