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  • Contemporary Salmon Genetic Stock Composition Estimates


Northwest Fisheries Science Center (NWFSC) Conservation Biology CB - Genetics and Evolution


FRAM Observer Salmon genetics
Contemporary Salmon Genetic Stock Composition Estimates
1. The purpose of this project is to measure and monitor impacts on ESA-listed populations and to estimate overall Chinook salmon stock composition in bycatch associated with the hake fisheries (including tribal and non-tribal, shoreside, and at-sea). The work is carried out by NOAA staff.

2. Fin clips collected by NOAA observers are characterized genetically allowing allocation of the mixture to source populations.

3. Written reports are produced regularly and forwarded to the NWR and interested parties.

4. The NWR is the primary management audience in facilitation of NOAA's MSA obligations to measure and monitor ESA impacts.

5. This is an ongoing project (see also Historical Salmon Genetic Stock Composition Estimates).

6. This is a stand-alone project in one sense, but is closely coordinated with stock composition studies in directed harvest as well as similar studies of historical bycatch using archival scale material.

7. There are no specific hard deadlines associated with this project.

Research Themes

Recovery and rebuilding of marine and coastal species
The Pacific Northwest is home to several iconic endangered species, including Pacific salmon and killer whales, and several rockfish species. Mandates such as the Endangered Species Act, MagnusonStevens Act, and the Marine Mammal Protection Act, grant NOAA Fisheries the authority to manage the recovery of depleted species and stocks. The NWFSC contributes to species recovery through research, monitoring and analysis, providing NOAA managers and regional stakeholders the tools and information they need to craft effective regulations and develop sustainable plans for recovery.

Research Foci

Characterize the population biology of species, and develop and improve methods for predicting the status of populations
To evaluate species status and recovery, it is necessary to understand key aspects of the population biology of the species in question. This includes basic information on abundance, age structure, recruitment, spatial distribution, life history and how the species interacts with its ecosystem. For some recovering species, including most overfished groundfish stocks, many ESA-listed Pacific salmon stocks, and high profile species such as Southern Resident killer whales, this basic information is often reasonably well understood. For other recovering species, such as Pacific eulachon and some ESA-listed rockfish species, even basic information (e.g. stock abundance) is unknown. Even for well-studied species, key information on survival rates for critical life stages and how the environment affects these vital rates is lacking. Without basic information on species dynamics, achieving other goals such as quantifying relationships between human activities and species recovery or even knowing if species recovery goals are being met will not be successful. The NWFSC, in partnership with regional stakeholders, including states, tribes and industry, is conducting research to collect and monitor critical demographic information for recovering species.


Chinook salmon
species of interest
Pacific hake
survey species name
use of genetic markers to determine differential reproductive success between adults with different life histories


None associated


Species Oncorhynchus tshawytscha
Chinook salmon, king salmon, spring salmon


Paul Moran
Principal Investigator
Ryan Shama
Vanessa Tuttle