Genetic Analyses of Chinook Salmon Caught in the Skeena River Sport Fishery 2010

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Samples were collected from 378 Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) caught by anglers fishing in the Skeena River downstream of Terrace, British Columbia. Genetic analyses indicate that the largest stock components in the sample were from the Morice River at 30.8%, the Kitsumkalum River at 20.3% and the Babine River at 7.4%. The largest age and sex specific components in the sample were age 42 males and age 52 females.

Genetics were used to determine Chinook salmon gender and to evaluate the use of visual cues to determine gender. Visual cues were not an effective method to accurately determine the gender of Chinook salmon encountered by this fishery.

Samples indicated a larger component of Kitsumkalum Chinook in the recreational catch than measured at the Tyee Test fishery in 2010. While this difference was not statistically significant it suggests that there was selection for Kitsumkalum Chinook salmon in the recreational fishery. Stock specific bias and the selection of Kitsumkalum Chinook salmon was discussed with respect to the effects on using genetic estimates from Tyee and escapement estimates from the Kitsumkalum River to produce estimates for the aggregate of Skeena River Chinook salmon returns.