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ESA Recovery Science Review Panel Meeting

In December 2003, Frank Thrower of ABL attended a meeting of the NOAA Fisheries Recovery Science Review Panel (RSRP) at the Southwest Fisheries Science Center in Santa Cruz, California. The RSRP is a group of scientists from universities across the United States and Canada, selected by NMFS to independently review recovery efforts for endangered salmonids listed by the agency. The panel meets quarterly and evaluates recovery efforts of listed species by region. Thrower was invited to review research from the Little Port Walter field station on resident and anadromous (steelhead) forms of rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss).

The relationship between resident and anadromous forms of O. mykiss is a particularly difficult issue for NMFS both in terms of jurisdiction and biology. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service maintains legal control over nonmigratory resident stocks of rainbow trout, and NMFS has control over the anadromous stocks. In terms of biology, the current Endangered Species Act (ESA) listings and the risks of extinction for this species are based primarily on abundance of the anadromous form; however, there is a paucity of data on the abundance of resident forms in designated Evolutionary Significant Units, or ESUs, and on their interactions with the anadromous form. The RSRP is involved in a comprehensive review of scientific information on the abundance, genetic interaction, and genetic relationships between the anadromous and nonmigratory resident forms of this species.

This lack of information for managers was recognized during the first steelhead status review. The research on steelhead and rainbow trout currently under way at the Little Port Walter station was designed specifically to provide information that might aid in risk assessment and recovery. The RSRP encouraged continued support for the research; however, the research is in jeopardy because of changes in status of other funding sources, which now necessitate using much of the available ESA research funding for primary facility operations. Previous recommendations of the panel on other ESA issues can be viewed online on the Northwest Fisheries Science Center website (

By Frank Thrower.

NPAFC Annual Meeting and International Workshop

Representatives of Canada, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Russia, and the United States, the primary states of origin for salmon stocks in the North Pacific, met in Hawaii during October 2003 for the Eleventh Annual Meeting of the North Pacific Anadromous Fish Commission (NPAFC). The NPAFC promotes the conservation of salmonids in the North Pacific Ocean and its adjacent seas and serves as a venue for coordination of enforcement activities and scientific research.

The Committee on Scientific Research and Statistics (CSRS), the commission’s principal forum for international cooperation in salmon research, met during the annual meeting to consider a broad range of issues concerning Pacific salmonid stocks; Jack Helle, Bill Heard, and Dick Wilmot from ABL took part in the CSRS working groups. Following the annual meeting, the CSRS working group on stock identification sponsored a 2-day international symposium on “Application of Stock Identification in Defining Marine Distribution and Migration of Salmon” at the University of Hawaii campus. Scientists from all five NPAFC member countries attended the workshop, which included more than 50 technical papers as either oral or poster presentations.

Chris Kondzela from ABL gave a talk titled “Origin of Juvenile Chum Salmon from Gulf of Alaska Coastal Waters, 2000 and 2001, Determined from Genetic Variation and Hatchery Thermal Marks”; Ed Farley and Dick Wilmot of ABL were coauthors on this paper. Substituting for Ed Farley, Cris Kondzela also gave a second oral paper on “Stock-Specific Distribution and Migration of Juvenile Chum Salmon along the Eastern Bering Sea Shelf”; other ABL authors were Jim Murphy and Angela Middleton.

Poster presentations from ABL staff included: “Hatchery and Wild Stock Interactions of Juvenile Chum Salmon in Marine Waters of Southeastern Alaska; A Bioenergetics Approach” by Joe Orsi, Alex Wertheimer, Molly Sturdevant, Emily Fergusson, Don Mortensen, and Bruce Wing (.pdf, 277KB); “Post-Cephalic White Spot Syndrome in Salmonids” by Bill Heard (.pdf, 232KB); “Identification of Source Populations of Mixture Individuals From Their Measurements” by Michele Masuda and Jerome Pella; “Diel Feeding of Juvenile Pink, Chum, and Coho Salmon in Icy Strait, Southeastern Alaska, May-September 2001” by Molly Sturdevant, Emily Fergusson, Joe Orsi, and Alex Wertheimer; and “Development of Pacific Rim Even-and Odd-Year Pink Salmon Baselines” by Sharon Hawkins and Dick Wilmot. Extended abstracts of both oral and poster presentations from this workshop will be published in the NPAFC Technical Report Number 5.

By Bill Heard.

Eastern Bering Sea (BASIS) Coastal Research on Juvenile Salmon

As part of the Bering-Aleutian Salmon International Survey (BASIS), an eastern Bering Sea research cruise was conducted during August-October 2003 by scientists from ABL’s Ocean Carrying Capacity program; BASIS scientists study early marine distribution, migration, and growth of juvenile salmon (Oncorhynchus spp.) on the eastern Bering Sea shelf. During the cruise, 15,963 salmon were captured, including juvenile pink (O. gorbuscha; 26.0%), chum (O. keta; 22.3%), sockeye (O. nerka; 39.1%), coho (O. kisutch; 6.1%), and chinook (O. tshawytscha; 3.8%) salmon.

Besides the salmon, 1,350,886 other marine fish were captured during the survey, including walleye pollock (Theragra chalcogramma; 95%), Pacific herring (Clupea pallasi; 3%), and less than 1% each for crested sculpin (Blepsias bilobus), sturgeon poacher (Podothecus acipenserinus), Bering wolffish (Anarhichas orientalis), Pacific sandfish (Trichodon trichodon), capelin (Mallotus villosus), Pacific cod (Gadus macrocephalus), prowfish (Zaprora silenus), Pacific sandlance (Ammodytes hexapterus), northern rock sole (Lepidopsetta polyxystra), lamprey (Petromyzontidae), sablefish (Anoplopoma fimbria), Atka mackerel (Pleurogrammus monopterygius), starry flounder (Platichthys stellatus), rainbow smelt (Osmerus mordax), rock greenling (Hexagrammos lagocephalus), salmon shark (Lamna ditropis), saffron cod (Eleginus gracilis), ninespine stickleback (Pungitius pungitius), and yellowfin sole (Limanda aspera).

By Ed Farley.


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