The Joint USA-Canada Echo Integration-Trawl Survey from June 24 to September 8, 2003: A Report On The Catch And Biological Data Collected For Pacific Salmon Off Southeast Alaska

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Scientists from the USA and the Stock Assessment Division of Fisheries and Oceans Canada conducted the Joint USA-Canada Echo Integration -Trawl survey that took place on the CCGS W.E. Ricker from June 24 to September 8, 2003. The primary purpose of the survey was to assess the distribution of Pacific hake (Merluccius productus) off Southeast Alaska, British Columbia, and the USA coast down to Monterey Bay, California. On this survey, the Highseas Salmon Program was allocated the day of August 27 for dedicated fishing for juvenile salmon and oceanographic sampling along a cross-shelf transect off Southeast Alaska near Forrester Island (54.8° N). Fish, oceanographic, or zooplankton sampling at nine stations was completed.

The Highseas Salmon Program of Fisheries and Oceans Canada has conducted annual Pacific salmon surveys in the Gulf of Alaska since 1995. The main objectives of these surveys were to collect information on (1) the distribution and ecology of Pacific salmon (Oncorhynchus spp.) during their ocean phase, (2) the ambient oceanographic conditions, and (3) the distribution and biomass of zooplankton.

A total of 375 Pacific salmon were caught along the Forrester Island transect. Of these, 167 were juvenile pink salmon (O. gorbuscha), 35 were juvenile chum salmon (O. keta), 25 were juvenile sockeye salmon (O. nerka), 103 were juvenile coho salmon (O. kisutch), and 34 were juvenile chinook salmon (O. tshawytscha) in their first summer in the ocean.

Almost all the juvenile pink, chum, sockeye, coho, chinook were caught at the three stations that were closest to the shore.

Juvenile pink, chum, sockeye, coho, and chinook averaged 179, 188, 174, 276 252 mm in fork length, respectively.

Ten age 1.0 juvenile chinook were recovered with either or both CWT’s or PIT tags. All were Columbia River – Snake River chinook that had been released in the spring of 2003.

Three age 1.0 juvenile coho were recovered with CWT’s. Two had been released into the Lewis River within the lower Columbia River production area, and one had been released into Fork Creek within the Willipa River production area on the coast of Washington State.