| Alaska Fisheries Science Center Quarterly Report : July, August, September , 2002 - :19961 | National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS)
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Alaska Fisheries Science Center Quarterly Report : July, August, September , 2002
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    Previous migration models of juvenile chum salmon, Oncorhynchus keta, in the Gulf of Alaska (GOA) indicate a counter-clock wise movement pattern where the juveniles migrate along the GOA continental shelf corridor, typically north and then west, before entering offshore waters in fall and winter. Little is known, however, about many of the specific aspects of this migration such as migration rates, the abundance and distribution of specific stock-groupings along this corridor, and point of debarkation where the juveniles move from coastal to offshore waters. In the past several years, new survey and laboratory methods employed by the Auke Bay Laboratory’s (ABL) Ocean Carrying Capacity Program (OCC) in conjunction with oceanographic investigations through GLOBEC (Global Ocean Ecosystem Dynamics) research initiatives have overcome key data limitations encountered by previous research, there by allowing new insight into salmon migration characteristics in the GOA. Many of the weather limitations encountered by purse seine operations in the past have been overcome by the use of rope trawls towed at the surface. Past reliance on limited recoveries of tags from salmon tagged at sea has given way to new tools that provide robust methods of identifying stocks or regional stock-groupings in mixtures of fish. Large-scale hatchery thermal mark programs recently developed at several hatcheries in North America have made it possible to study the migration, distribution, growth, and survival of these individual stocks. A broader-scale perspective of salmon migration along the GOA coastal corridor is possible through the use of genetic analyses that take advantage of the genetic divergence that exists among regional groups of populations. In this report, we provide updated information on salmon migration patterns in the GOA, relying upon migration and distribution data from thermally marked chum salmon hatchery stocks and the first genetic stock identification analysis of juvenile salmon migrating through this coastal corridor.

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