Northwest Fisheries Science Center

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Document Type: Journal Article
Center: NWFSC
Document ID: 4125
Title: Persistent organic pollutants in juvenile Chinook salmon in the Columbia Basin:  implications for stock recovery
Author: Lyndal L. Johnson, B. F. Anulacion, M. R. Arkoosh, O. P. Olson, C. A. Sloan, S. Y. Sol, J. A. Spromberg, David J. Teel, G. K. Yanagida, G. M. Ylitalo
Publication Year: 2013
Journal: Transactions of the American Fisheries Society
Volume: 142
Issue: 1
Pages: 21-40
Keywords: PCBs,DDTs,Chinook salmon,Columbia River

 Among the populations of Pacific salmon and steelhead Oncorhynchus mykiss (anadromous Rainbow Trout) that inhabit the Columbia River basin there are current 13 Evolutionarily Significant Units listed as threatened or endangered under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. While habitat loss, dams, overharvest, and climate change have been implicated in declining abundance of Chinook Salmon O. tshawytscha in the Columbia River, chemical contaminantsrepresent an additional, yet poorly understood, conservation threat. In this study we measured concentrations of persistent organic pollutants in juvenile Chinook Salmon from various Columbia River stocks and life historytypes to evaluate the potential for adverse effects in these threatened and endangered fish. Polychlorinated biphenyls(PCBs) and dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDTs), recognized contaminants of concern in the Columbia basin, are the primary focus of this paper; other contaminants found in these fish, such as polybrominated diphenyl ethers and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, are described in other publications. We frequently detected PCBs and DDTs in juvenile salmon and salmon diet samples from the lower Columbia River and estuary. In some cases, concentrations in salmon were above estimated thresholds for effects on growth and survival. The tidal freshwater portion of the estuary, between Portland, Oregon, and Longview,Washington, appeared to be an important source of contaminants for juvenile salmon and a region in which salmon were exposed to toxicants associated with urban development and industrial activity. Highest concentrations of PCBs were found in fall Chinook Salmon stocks with subyearling life histories, including populations from the upper Columbia and Snake rivers, which feed and rear in the tidal freshwater and estuarine portions of the river for extended periods. Spring Chinook Salmon stocks with yearling life histories that migrate more rapidly through the estuary generally had low PCB concentrations, but high concentrations of DDTs. Lipid content was low (<1%) in many of the fish examined, contributing to high lipid-adjusted contaminants concentrations in some samples.


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Theme: Recovery, Rebuilding and Sustainability of Marine and Anadromous Species
Foci: Describe the relationship among human activities and species stock status, recovery, rebuilding and sustainability.