The International Sampling Program : continent of origin and biological characteristics of Atlantic salmon collected at west Greenland in 2014
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The International Sampling Program : continent of origin and biological characteristics of Atlantic salmon collected at west Greenland in 2014

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    An Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) mixed-stock fishery operating from 1 August through 31 October exists off the western coast of Greenland, which primarily harvests one-sea-winter (1SW) North American and European origin salmon destined to return to natal waters as two-sea-winter spawning adults. To collect data on the biological characteristics and origin of the harvest necessary for international stock assessment efforts, parties to the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization's (NASCO) West Greenland Commission (WGC) agreed to participate in an international sampling program for the 2014 fishery. The sampling program was coordinated by the USA (NOAA Fisheries Service) and involved 6 samplers from 5 countries, deployed among 4 communities (Sisimuit, Maniitsoq, Paamiut and Qaqortoq) located on the west coast of Greenland. In addition, 2 fish processing factories from 2 different communities (Arsuk and Atammik) also collected biological samples from landed Atlantic salmon. Reported landings in 2014 were 57.8 metric tons (t). Data on length, weight, freshwater and marine age from scale samples and continent of origin from genetic analysis of tissue samples were collected. Since 2002 (with the exception of 2006 and 2011), unreported landings were identified by comparing the reported landings to the weight of the sampled harvest for each community. Underreporting was detected for non-factory landings in 1 of the 4 communities (Qaqortoq) and the total adjusted landings for this community were approximately 0.6 t higher than the reported landings, resulting in total adjusted landings of 58.4 t in 2014. In total, 1,013 salmon were observed by the sampling teams and 649 of these were sampled for biological characteristics. An additional 276 salmon were also sampled from the factory landed fish. Approximately 6% by weight of the reported landings were observed by the sampling teams. As seen since the mid- 1990s, a high proportion of the harvested stock was of North American origin (71.7%) with the balance being European origin (28.3%). North American origin fish were primarily freshwater age 2 or 3 years (29.0% and 44.5% respectively) and 1SW (91.3%). European origin fish were primarily freshwater age 2 (60.7%) and 1SW (96.1%). The mean length of North American and European 1SW salmon was 66.4 and 64.3 cm and the mean whole weight was 3.39 and 3.13 kg, respectively. Approximately 12,800 North American (41.8 t) and 5,400 European salmon (16.5 t) were harvested, not taking into account any unreported catch. The sampling program was successful in adequately sampling the Greenland catch, both temporally and spatially, and provided essential input data to international stock assessment efforts, which provide stock status and catch options for subsequent fishery management. [doi:10.7289/V5MP518G (]
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