Rebuilding Naturally Spawning Coho Stocks....
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GRANT NUMBER:  NA96FD0130          NMFS NUMBER:   99-NWR-015

REPORT TITLE:  Rebuilding Naturally Spawning Coho Stocks: An Assessment of Bycatch Reduction Measures and Spawning Escapement Stock Composition in the Southern Puget Sound (Fishery Management Area 13D-K)

AUTHOR:  Squaxin Island Tribe Department of Natural Resources

PUBLISH DATE:  May 31, 2000

AVAILABLE FROM: National Marine Fisheries Service, Northwest Regional Office, 7600 Sand Point Way, NE, Seattle, WA 98115.  PHONE: (206) 526-6115


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The investigators examined the contribution of natural coho salmon to the total coho salmon harvest in the Squaxin Island Tribes commercial coho salmon fishery during the 1999 and 2000 commercial fisheries. The investigators also examined the contribution of hatchery strays to coho salmon escapement in local streams. Commercial harvest during the two years was extremely variable. The 1999 harvest (5,282) was the lowest on record, while the 2000 harvest (77,847) was within the range observed during the past decade. Natural coho salmon contributed 5 percent or less of the total harvest during both years. This resulted in estimates of 131 and 3,808 natural coho salmon being intercepted in the 1999 and 2000 commercial coho salmon fisheries, respectively. Although these are relatively small numbers, they represented between 16 and 129 percent of the total escapement of coho salmon (both natural and hatchery) to local streams.

The contribution of hatchery strays to escapement in local streams was spatially and temporally variable. Hatchery strays contributed a greater proportion of the total escapement during 1999 and 2000 in two local streams. The proportion of hatchery strays observed in Mill Creek was more than twice that observed in Cranberry Creek. However, sample sizes were small (n = 12 to 75) for these streams. The proportion of coho salmon carcasses sampled found to be hatchery origin based on adipose fin clips varied from 0.0 to 88.9 percent for five streams. Sample sizes were extremely small (n = 1 to 9) for all but one stream (n = 79). Overall, 32.2 percent of all coho salmon sampled in local streams were hatchery strays. Results from this study will be used to reduce the interception of natural coho salmon in the Squaxin Island Tribes commercial coho salmon fishery. Results also will be used to improve estimates of natural coho salmon escapement into local streams and provide insight into means of limiting the influence of hatchery strays on local streams.


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