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  • Lingcod Stock Enhancement: ecological interactions, fishery contributions, and life history


Northwest Fisheries Science Center (NWFSC) Environmental and Fisheries Sciences


REUT - Lingcod Enhancement
Lingcod Stock Enhancement: ecological interactions, fishery contributions, and life history
Lingcod (Ophiodon elongatus) populations along the West Coast of North America have recovered from overfishing, but the status of genetically distinct lingcod in Puget Sound, Washington is less clear. This project will use small-scale lingcod releases to learn about the benefits and risks of using stock enhancement as a tool to help rebuild marine fish populations. We have conducted experiments to improve rearing methods, improve release methods, and learn about lingcod life history, and are proceeding with a before-after-control-impact study that will quantify ecological impacts on wild fishes. WDFW collaborates on this project by conducting creel surveys.

This project has been or is currently supported by the Science Consortium for Ocean Replenishment, the Puget Sound Recreational Fisheries Enhancement Fund, and NOAA Aquaculture. Previous or present partners include the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission, the Nisqually Tribe, WDFW, and the Washington SCUBA Alliance.

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

Evaluate the effects of artificial propagation on recovery, rebuilding and sustainability of marine and anadromous species
Artificial propagation has the potential to provide benefits both to species recovery and to seafood sustainability. Artificial propagation also poses risks to wild species and ecosystems. In the past, the use of artificial propagation has been an important risk factor for several threatened and endangered species, particularly Pacific salmon. Assessing the effects of artificial propagation is complicated by the fact that programs vary widely in size, rearing practices, and goals. The NWFSC conducts critical research on the influence of artificial propagation on population dynamics, growth rate, ecology of infectious disease, and the evolutionary fitness of wild fish and other marine organisms. Results of this research are needed to support the recovery of fish populations and have been especially valuable in providing critical information for recent, larger scale habitat restoration activities such as the Elwha Dam removal. NWFSC will continue to conduct science that informs the discussion about whether to allow fish to recolonize naturally after barrier removal, or to supplement populations with hatchery fish and on the impacts of aquaculture on fishing pressure and practices, and on the surrounding environment and ecosystem.


acoustic tags
acoustic tags
artificial propagation
research technique
ecological and geographic unit
effectiveness monitoring
evaluating whether actions had desired effects on physical, chemical, or biological processes
food web
complex of interrelated food chains in an ecological community
research focus
life history
research focus


Ontogenetic Changes in Dispersal and Habitat Use in Hatchery-Reared Lingcod
Site Fidelity and Movement in Hatchery Reared Lingcod
Site Fidelity and Movement in Hatchery Reared Lingcod
Telemetry Tag Effects on Juvenile Lingcod Movement: A Lab & Field Study


Species Ophiodon elongatus


Jon Lee
Principal Investigator
Matt Cook