Proposed Abstract Title

The Hakai Institute Salmon Early Marine Survival Program

Type of Presentation

Poster

Session Title

General species and food webs

Location

2016SSEC

Description

The first months after salmon enter the ocean have been identified as a potentially critical period determining marine survival. Survival during this early marine phase may ultimately be responsible for interannual variability and long term declines in salmon stocks, including Fraser River sockeye that contribute to the largest salmon fishery in BC. Fraser River sockeye, comprise a complex of > 30 stocks, the majority of which spend the critical early marine period in the Strait of Georgia, Discovery Islands, and Johnstone Strait. The environmental conditions across these regions may therefore be of particular importance to understanding stock fluctuations of Fraser River sockeye, as well as other co-migrating salmon species. Hakai Institute’s Salmon Early Marine Survival Program (SEMSP) was initiated in spring 2015 to investigate the factors influencing the growth, condition, and ultimately survival of juvenile salmon in the northern Strait of Georgia, Discovery Islands, and Johnstone Strait region. The SEMS program is a collaboration between the Hakai Institute, University of British Columbia, University of Toronto, and the Salmon Coast Field Station. A mobile small-boat fleet, equipped with mini purse seine nets, is used to conduct high spatio-temporal resolution sampling of juvenile salmon during the peak outmigration period (April to July). Parallel measurements of ocean conditions are made by the Hakai Oceanography Program. Data are being collected on ocean conditions and regional prey availability; juvenile salmon feeding biology, growth and condition; and pathogen and parasite loads. These data are being examined to determine the extent to which they interact to shape the northern Strait of Georgia, Discovery Islands, and Johnstone Strait as a critical region for the early marine survival of Fraser River salmon. Here we report on the first successful field season, detail the laboratory processing steps that are being implemented at Hakai’s Quadra Island research station, and present preliminary data on migration timing and fish condition.

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The Hakai Institute Salmon Early Marine Survival Program

2016SSEC

The first months after salmon enter the ocean have been identified as a potentially critical period determining marine survival. Survival during this early marine phase may ultimately be responsible for interannual variability and long term declines in salmon stocks, including Fraser River sockeye that contribute to the largest salmon fishery in BC. Fraser River sockeye, comprise a complex of > 30 stocks, the majority of which spend the critical early marine period in the Strait of Georgia, Discovery Islands, and Johnstone Strait. The environmental conditions across these regions may therefore be of particular importance to understanding stock fluctuations of Fraser River sockeye, as well as other co-migrating salmon species. Hakai Institute’s Salmon Early Marine Survival Program (SEMSP) was initiated in spring 2015 to investigate the factors influencing the growth, condition, and ultimately survival of juvenile salmon in the northern Strait of Georgia, Discovery Islands, and Johnstone Strait region. The SEMS program is a collaboration between the Hakai Institute, University of British Columbia, University of Toronto, and the Salmon Coast Field Station. A mobile small-boat fleet, equipped with mini purse seine nets, is used to conduct high spatio-temporal resolution sampling of juvenile salmon during the peak outmigration period (April to July). Parallel measurements of ocean conditions are made by the Hakai Oceanography Program. Data are being collected on ocean conditions and regional prey availability; juvenile salmon feeding biology, growth and condition; and pathogen and parasite loads. These data are being examined to determine the extent to which they interact to shape the northern Strait of Georgia, Discovery Islands, and Johnstone Strait as a critical region for the early marine survival of Fraser River salmon. Here we report on the first successful field season, detail the laboratory processing steps that are being implemented at Hakai’s Quadra Island research station, and present preliminary data on migration timing and fish condition.