The first phase of sampling has been completed for an historic effort to map the ocean distribution and migration patterns of Chinook salmon in the California Current through the use of genetic stock identification (GSI) and at-sea sampling with exact catch locations recorded. This unique collaboration is being led by the Southwest and Northwest Fisheries Science Centers, Oregon State University and the commercial salmon fleets of Oregon and California. The entire ocean distribution of salmon south of the Columbia River is being sampled for five months (May-September) through a combination of catch and release test fishing in closed areas and times, and at-sea sampling of the landed catch in open areas and times. The first phase of the project resulted in a very low catch rate in California, due at least partially to poor weather and ocean conditions. Initial analyses of samples from the Oregon portion of the project suggests that Central Valley salmon stocks may still be at depressed abundance, since the estimated proportion of these stocks in the May 2010 Oregon fishery is similar to that in the May 2007 Oregon fishery.
(June 24, 2010)