Northwest Fisheries Science Center

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Document Type: Contract Report
Center: NWFSC
Document ID: 5785
Title: Columbia River stock identification study
Author/Editor: George B. Milner, David J. Teel
Publication Year: 1979
Publisher: National Marine Fisheries Service
Contracting Agency: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Contract Number: 14-16-0001-6438
Keywords: Genetic stock identification,

Stock identification has been a central problem in salmonid management and research for many years.  Tagging studies have provided a wealth of information concerning the biology of salmonids, e.g., life cycles, timing and routes of migration, and homing behavior.  Tagging has also been extremely useful in providing catch statistics.  However, tagging has some serious limitations—limitations in long–term studies in which rapid retrieval of information on the stock composition of daily catches are required, such as high–cost, slow information–retrieval time, and the requirement of marking (tagging) fish each year.  This study is concerned with a method of stock identification based on genetically controlled protein variation detected by starch gel electrophoresis coupled with histochemical staining (for details on the method see May 1975).  The potential usefulness of this kind of genetic variation in fisheries research and management of salmonid stocks was recognized and developed mainly through the efforts of F. M. Utter of National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and his associates over the last 15 years.  The "Columbia River Stock Identification Study Cooperative Agreement" between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and NMFS was started in 1976 to survey and catalog genetic variation existing among chinook salmon and steelhead populations of the Columbia River and to develop a statistical method that uses biochemical genetic markers as the discriminating parameters for estimating the composition of mixed–stock fisheries.  Conforming with the objectives of the study, the body of this report consists of two major sections:  1) the survey of genetic variation and  2) the development of the statistical method.  A third section presents conclusions and recommendations.