Northwest Fisheries Science Center

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Document Type: Journal Article
Center: NWFSC
Document ID: 236
Title: Abundance and distribution of pelagic piscivorous fishes in the Columbia River plume during spring/early summer 1998-2003: Relationship to oceanographic conditions, forage fishes, and juvenile salmonids
Author: Robert L. Emmett, G. K. Krutzikowsky, Paul J. Bentley
Publication Year: 2006
Journal: Progress in Oceanography
Volume: 68
Pages: 1-26
Keywords: California Current, Columbia River plume, predators, Pacific hake, forage fish, salmonids

From 1998 to 2003, we observed large fluctuations in the abundance and distribution of four pelagic predatory (piscivorous) fishes off northern Oregon and southern Washington, USA.  Fluctuations in predatory fish species composition and abundance were strongly linked to the date of the spring transition and to ocean temperatures.  Predatory fishes, forage fishes, and juvenile salmonids had distinct spatial distributions, with predators distributed primarily offshore and forage fish and salmonids onshore, but this varied depending on ocean conditions.  We suggest that predatory and forage fish distributions respond to ocean temperatures, predator/prey interactions, and possibly turbidity.  A shift in ocean conditions in 1999 decreased overall predator fish abundance in the Columbia River plume, particularly for Pacific hake.  Marine survival of juvenile salmon started to increase in 1999, and forage fish densities increased in 2000, lagging by one year. 

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