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2018-19 abundance

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2018-19 abundance

Postby Sinnazat04 » Fri Jul 28, 2017 11:01 am

I was forwarded a chain of emails from colleagues doing salmon research in both the Gulf of Alaska and off the Washington and Oregon coasts. I am not a salmon biologist, though many in the fleet have a lot of experience examining this type of data. At any rate for what it is worth I wanted to share it.

A recent report of juvenile salmon catch by NOAA’s Ocean Ecology Group in Newport, OR. 2017 was the 20th year this group has surveyed coastal waters off Washington and Oregon during the last week of June for juvenile salmon, along with the physical oceanography, zooplankton, and associated nekton (squid, forage fish, piscivorous fish like mackerel and sharks, etc.). Transects run east-west along the shelf from La Push to Newport, OR and trawling stations are located approximately 5 nm apart from ~5-25 nm offshore. In 2017, the group reported the fewest catches of juvenile outmigrating salmon in 20 years:

Juvenile catches reported from 8 days of sampling effort at 52 stations:

Subyearling Chinook: 45

Yearling Chinook: 16

Yearling Coho: 53

Chum: 43

Sockeye: 0

Steelhead: 1

Cutthroat: 0

Pink: 0

Catches are typically an order of magnitude larger than this. Understandably, these numbers are worrisome, and combined with reports from the GoA, do not hold a lot of promise for adult returns of Chinook in 2019 and 2020 and coho in 2018. Baring late ocean entry timing or dramatic differences in early ocean distribution and migration patterns, it appears that fewer smolts were encountered in the ocean this year than in previous years.

I do not know what similar data collected in the Eastern Gulf of Alaska this year suggests. However many (The majority) forum participants have much more complex knowledge of salmon then I will ever have. At any rate wanted to share this information, for what it is worth.
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