Northwest Fisheries Science Center

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Document Type: Contract Report
Center: NWFSC
Document ID: 5786
Title: Columbia River stock identification study
Author/Editor: George B. Milner, David J. Teel, Fred M. Utter
Publication Year: 1980
Publisher: National Marine Fisheries Service
Contracting Agency: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Contract Number: 14-16-0001-6438
Date: 1980

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 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.  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 (USFWS) 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.  The goal for fiscal 1979 was to complete the collection of baseline genetic data.  This report includes both the 1979 data and all previously collected data.