Category: 2016

2016 Fund Project

Pelly River Chinook Salmon Sonar Program

This project proposes to operate a sonar enumeration program on the lower Pelly River (downstream of the community of Pelly Crossing) for the purpose of enumerating Chinook salmon that spawn in the mainstem Pelly River and all of its tributaries. The Pelly River supports Selkirk First Nation’s (SFN) Chinook salmon fishery and is one of the largest contributors of Canadian origin Yukon River Chinook salmon, based on genetic stock identification, at the Eagle Sonar site near the Canada/U.S. border. There is currently no index of Chinook salmon escapement for the mainstem of the Pelly River and SFN is keen on developing a more localized means to manage this important Chinook stock.

SFN has recently entered into dialogue with DFO’s Yukon staff with regard to the local management of the Pelly River Chinook salmon stock; it is SFN’s intention take a more active role in the management and conservation of Chinook salmon in the Pelly River through a locally developed Salmon Management Plan. The first stage of this local Salmon Management Plan includes developing an SFN operated stock assessment program for Chinook salmon on the Pelly River, and in support of this objective, SFN conducted a reconnaissance survey of the lower Pelly River in August 2015 and located a candidate sonar site with a bathymetric profile, current pattern and river banks shape/composition that is suited to the operation of split-beam or multi-beam sonar. The site is located approximately 20 km upstream of the mouth of the Pelly River and is downstream of all but one of SFN citizen’s fish camps. This site could also support a test fishery for species apportionment, as well as a seasonal field camp to support the operation of the sonar program.

The first goal of this project is to begin the development of an accurate, in-season stock assessment tool to estimate the annual passage rates for Chinook salmon in the Pelly River. The second goal of this project is to begin to build local capacity, including technical training and full time employment for local SFN citizens.

CRE-94-20. Pelly River Chinook Salmon Sonar 2020 R...

CRE-94-19. Pelly Sonar Final Report 2019

CRE-94-18 Pelly River Chinook Sonar Report FINAL

CRE-94-17 Pelly River Chinook Salmon Sonar Program

CRE-94-16 Pelly River Chinook Sonar Pilot Program

 

McIntyre Creek Salmon Incubation Project – MCSIP

Tanks for all the fish

A lot more Chinook salmon will soon be raised at the McIntyre Creek Salmon Incubation Facility. The Whitehorse hatchery has seen $60,000 in upgrades as well as a new tank design which more closely mimics nature. Philippe Morin took a tour.More: www.cbc.ca/1.3633022

Posted by CBC Yukon on Monday, June 13, 2016

Video Source: CBC

The McIntyre Creek Salmon Incubation Project (MCSIP) is a groundwater sourced, gravity-fed salmon incubation facility capable of rearing fish from egg-take through to tagged and release-ready stage. The facility has functioned for nearly 20 years, collecting salmon broodstock from the wild, fertilizating and incubating eggs, rearing and feeding  juveniles, adipose fin clipping and inserting coded-wire tags (CWTs) in preparation for release into the wild. In previous years MCSIP has focused on enhancement and fostering of stewardship through the rearing and release of Yukon River Chinook salmon juveniles back into natal streams, as well as stock restoration of depopulated streams undergoing stock restoration. For example, Whitehorse Rapids Fishway eggs have primarily been used to re-stock Fox Creek as part of Ta’an Kwäch’än First Nation’s (TKFN) Fox Creek Salmon Stock Restoration Project. MCSIP provides facilities for the initial incubation of small numbers of other salmon eggs which are destined for classroom incubation projects as part of the Stream to Sea Program, and has served as a test site to refine the use of heath stack incubators and thermal marking units, which have been developed at the site.

MCSIP was initially founded as a stewardship and enhancement project, and continues to be a significant resource for Yukon River salmon. MCSIP focuses on two main target groups within the larger community; first nations interested in stock restoration of depopulated chinook salmon streams (e.g. TKFN), and students. Both elementary and Yukon College students use MCSIP as part of their educational experience. Renewable Resources Management 134: Introduction to Salmon Hatcheries and Related Fisheries Practices is a course developed with and for MCSIP. Yukon College students also provide paid labor and management of the day-to-day operation of the hatchery during the school year, providing even more practical training and responsibility. This hands-on experience has proven very valuable for student’s ongoing education and work careers.

 

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CRE-65-14 McIntyre Creek Salmon Incubation Project

CRE-65-13 McIntyre Creek Salmon Incubation Project

CRE-65-12 McIntyre Ck Salmon Incubation Project

CRE-65-11 McIntyre Creek Salmon Incubation Project

CRE-65-10 McIntyre Incubation Facility

CRE-65-09 McIntyre Creek Salmon Incubation Project

CRE-65-08 McIntyre Creek Salmon Incubation Report

CRE-65-07 McIntyre Creek Salmon Incubation Report

CRE-65-06 McIntyre Creek Salmon Incubation Project

CRE-65-05 McIntyre Creek Salmon Incubation Project

CRE-65-04 McIntyre Creek Salmon Incubation Project

CRE-65-03 McIntyre Creek Incubation

CRE-65-02 McIntyre Creek Salmon Incubation Project

CRE-15-98 McIntyre Creek Incubation Project

CRE-25-97 Mcintyre Chinook Incubation Project

 

Coded Wire Tagging of Hatchery Origin Canadian Chinook Salmon Fry

Groups of Upper Yukon River Chinook salmon have been tagged annually in Yukon since 1985, when hatchery fry were first released from the new Whitehorse Rapids Hatchery. Over 80% of all Whitehorse Rapids Hatchery fish have been tagged by Fisheries and Oceans Canada or by the Yukon Fish and Game Association. The long term goal of the project is to ensure on-going tagging of all hatchery contributions for management, assessment and monitoring purposes as per the current Pacific salmon CWT program outlined above. The short term goal (3 years) is to implement a coordinated tagging program to support anticipated stock recovery efforts as identified through focused Yukon River Panel restoration priorities between 2016 and 2019. Overall, the objective is to ensure that all Chinook salmon reared in a hatchery facility are marked via CWT (and adipose clip) in order to differentiate them from wild-reared fish.

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CRE-101-16N CWT of Hatchery Origin Canadian-Origin...

Yukon River Chinook Salmon Stock Restoration Community Technical Team

Interest in salmon stock and habitat restoration within the Yukon Territory has increased amid significant declines in Canadian-origin Yukon River Chinook over the past 15 years. The Yukon River Panel has also made Stock Restoration a priority with an expanded focus between 2016 and 2019.

Yukon First Nations and Canadian stakeholders are both leaders and potential partners that could support efforts to actively engage in the restoration of Yukon River Chinook salmon stocks in Canada. However, it is recognized that in order to undertake effective and appropriate stock restoration initiatives, there must be community support and the willingness and ability for salmon stakeholders to understand and play a role in the implementation of the stock restoration initiative. It is also essential that any proposed restoration action must be based on a plan that encompasses sound biological, technical and local/traditional knowledge parameters. The Yukon River Chinook Salmon Stock Restoration Community Technical Team provides this higher-level, drainage wide direction while working towards the implementation of strategic and specific stock restoration initiatives throughout the Yukon River drainage.

The two overarching goals of this multi-year project are to (1) support the development of a stock restoration framework based on community values, which can be used to help develop, evaluate and prioritize Chinook stock restoration initiatives in the Canadian portion of the Yukon River and (2) provide technical support and capacity building at the First Nation and community level for the implementation of priority stock restoration activities.

CRE-19-16 Chinook Stock Restoration Community Tech...

CRE-19-15 Chinook Stock Restoration Community Tech...

 

Porcupine River Chinook Salmon Sonar Program

The Porcupine River has its headwaters in the Yukon, and flows into Alaska before joining the Yukon River at Fort Yukon and hence to the Bering Sea. Chinook, chum and coho salmon return to the Porcupine River to spawn. These transboundary stocks are of importance to both Canada and the U.S.A., and so is the good management of these stocks. This project provides reliable and timely (in-season) information on both Chinook and chum salmon returning to the Porcupine River in Canada, and is the only reliable means of in-season assessment for both Chinook salmon and chum salmon available to US and Canadian fishery managers. Information on returns of these stocks as assessed in the lower Yukon River (i.e., passage of Chinook and chum salmon at Pilot Station in combination with genetic apportionment to the Porcupine River) is available, but is of low reliability and inappropriate for in-season management.

A sonar program has been operating just downstream of Old Crow to determine passage of chum and Chinook salmon since 2011 and 2014 respectively. This proposal combines both the Chinook and chum projects into one project for 2017 to achieve operational efficiencies and cost savings. Fisheries and Oceans Canada also operates a chum salmon enumeration project on the Fishing Branch River – a 14 day travel time upstream from Old Crow. This project provides reliable data as to whether the spawning escapement goal (as set by the Yukon River Panel) is achieved.

The Vuntut Gwitch’in Government (VGG) has been conducting sonar based stock assessment of Chinook salmon at the Old Crow Sonar site on the Porcupine River since 2014. For 2017, this will be combined with Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s chum assessment project to achieve operational efficiencies and cost savings. Fisheries and Oceans Canada also operates a chum salmon enumeration project on the Fishing Branch River – a 14 day travel time upstream from Old Crow. This project provides reliable data as to whether the spawning escapement goal (as set by the Yukon River Panel) is achieved.

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Porcupine River Chinook Salmon Telemetry

The goal of this project is to apply radio tags to Porcupine River Chinook salmon at a tagging location near the Canada/U.S. border, and thereafter to track them to their final spawning destinations throughout the Canadian portion of the Porcupine River watershed. The monitoring of escapement of Canadian origin Chinook salmon into the upper Porcupine River watershed is of high priority to the community of Old Crow and the Vuntut Gwitch’in Government (VGG), as Chinook salmon provide the primary salmon food fishery for community members and a more thorough understanding of Porcupine River Chinook spawning locations is required for the future conservation of this run. The telemetry project is intended to provide information on the geographic distribution of Porcupine Chinook while the concurrent sonar program provides an in-season escapement for the run. Prior to the 2015 Chinook telemetry project, only a limited amount of information was available on Porcupine River Chinook spawning destinations. A small number of salmon outfitted with radio tags entered the Porcupine River during Yukon River drainage wide Chinook telemetry projects in 2003 (CRE-17N-03) and 2004 (CRE-17-04). Over these two years, a total of 26 tags were relocated in the Porcupine River watershed and Chinook spawning was documented in a small number of tributaries including the Miner, Whitestone, Fishing Branch and Crow rivers. During the 2015 telemetry program, a total of 50 Chinook were successfully tagged with esophageal implant tags at Caribou Bar Creek between Old Crow and the Alaska border, and in 2016 a total of 80 Chinook salmon were tagged in the Porcupine River (downstream of Old Crow). Each year provided further evidence of spawning in the previously undocumented Bell River watershed, and revealed new spawning areas including the Bluefish River and a number of tributaries of the Crow River including Black Fox, Thomas, Schaeffer and Potato/Surprise Creek.

A secondary goal of this project is to collect genetic samples from Chinook salmon during the tagging process and assign these to specific stocks (using radio tag relocations).  These samples can then be pooled with the existing samples collected during previous years to assist in determining if each of the watersheds represent a unique genetic stock of Chinook.

CRE-11-16 Porcupine River Chinook Salmon Telemetry...

CRE-11-15 Porcupine River Chinook Salmon Telemetry

CRE-11-14N Chinook salmon radio tracking and genet...

 

Teslin River Chinook Stock Restoration Investigation and Deadman Creek Chinook Salmon Restoration Project

Chinook salmon in the Teslin River watershed have one of the longest salmon migrations in North America, with the headwaters of the Teslin River being nearly 3,000 km upstream from the Bering Sea. The Teslin River watershed is also a major spawning destination for Canadian-origin Chinook: The results from the Teslin River sonar (and in-season genetic analysis at Eagle) during 2014 and 2015 have indicated that approximately 25% of the passage of Canadian-origin Chinook is destined for the Teslin River watershed.
This project will build upon previous projects to reintroduce a spawning population of Chinook salmon to Deadman Creek, a tributary that flows into Teslin Lake approximately 30 km north of the community of Teslin using in-stream egg incubation (egg planting) methods. The 2016 work followed a project conducted by the Teslin Tlingit Council (TTC) during 2015 to identify potential Chinook stock and/or habitat restoration projects in the Teslin River watershed. The Deadman Creek framework is intended to be a working document which will be updated and revised as new monitoring (survival) data becomes available in future years.

CRE-18-19 Deadman Creek Chinook Stock Restoration ...

CRE-18-18. Deadman Creek Chinook Restoration and I...

CRE-18-17 Rourke. Deadman Creek Chinook Salmon Res...

CRE-18-16 Deadman creek Restoration_Final Report

CRE-18-15 Teslin River Watershed Chinook Restorat...

 

Yukon River Canadian-origin Juvenile Chinook Out-migrant Assessment

A primary goal the Yukon River Canadian-origin Juvenile Chinook out-migrant assessment on the Big Salmon River is to understand the abundance of juvenile Chinook salmon that are produced in this system and link this back to the number of spawners that produced these juveniles. Low density and varying migration timings make assessment difficult; thus, in an effort to find a method that allows full estimation of the number and timings of juveniles, we will be using and assessing different capture methods–a rotary screw trap (RST), beach seining and minnow trapping.

Developing an understanding of the relationship between juvenile production and the spawning escapement that produces them gives us a better understanding of Chinook salmon production and its limits, and helps us plan for stock and habitat restoration activities. This project is closely tied to the Big Salmon River Sonar Project, and operates out of the same site. Use of sonar technology to monitor juvenile out-migration is also under consideration.

CRE-26-18A Juvenile Chinook Salmon, Outmigration A...

CRE-26-17 Juvenile Chinook Salmon Outmigration Ass...

CRE-26-16A Juvenile Chinook Out-migrant Assessment

 

Yukon River Border Sonar Operations

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game and the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans actively manage Chinook and chum salmon fisheries in the Yukon River drainage, and the Canadian component of these stocks is an area of concern for both countries. This project employs split-beam and imaging sonar equipment on the Yukon River to generate timely, in-season passage estimates of Chinook and chum salmon bound for Canadian waters. The project is located approximately 13 km downstream from the U.S.-Canada Border and is scheduled to operate continuously in the field from approximately July 1 through October 10. As a part of routine project operations, drift gill netting is conducted daily to monitor species composition and to collect age, sex, and length data and genetic samples representative of the Chinook and chum salmon runs.

The 2016 season will mark the twelfth year of operation for this project, and the fifth year that it is funded by the Yukon River Panel Restoration & Enhancement Fund. There has been productive bi-lateral cooperation and consultation throughout the development of this project, leading to increased confidence in, and agreement upon, salmon border passage estimates. An annual report is also generated each year as part of the ADF&G Fisheries Data Series.

URE-16-17 Sonar Estimation of Chinook and Fall Chu...

URE-16-16 Sonar Estimation of Chinook and Fall Chu...

URE-16-14 Yukon River Border Sonar Operations

 

 

 

Yukon River Chinook Salmon Subsistence Harvest Sampling and GSI

An understanding of the total harvest of both U.S. and Canadian-origin Yukon River Chinook salmon is necessary in order to address harvest sharing objectives outlined in the Pacific Salmon Treaty. Important subsistence fisheries occur in Alaska across six distinct fishery management districts on the Yukon River, and stock composition of the subsistence harvest varies among these districts because of differences in harvest timing, location, and gear used.

Complete information on these harvests is critical for creating Canadian-origin Chinook salmon brood year tables and run reconstructions, which form the basis of the spawner-recruit models used to estimate past and future run productivity and help establish escapement goals for Canadian-origin Chinook salmon. These data also help managers understand the effects of management actions and fishing gear on harvest composition. The objective of this proposal is to collect representative genetic stock identification information, coupled with age, sex, and length data, from the Chinook salmon subsistence harvest in Districts 1 through 5.

This project began in 2009 at the Tanana Chiefs Conference, and has been funded by the Yukon River Panel Restoration & Enhancement Fund since 2012. As in previous programs, sampling will be done by local community members under the supervision of biologists and in accordance with ADF&G sampling protocols. Participants will be paid for the samples they collect in order to encourage participation in the program. ADF&G will receive the raw data and estimate age, sex, length and stock composition of the subsistence Chinook salmon harvests from Districts 1-5. A brood table will be published annually for the Joint Technical Committee, and a separate report will be provided that documents the data collection, harvest composition, and comparisons to historical patterns.

URE-03-18. Yukon R Chinook Subsistence Harvest Sam...

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URE-03-15 Yukon River Chinook Salmon Subsistence S...

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URE-03-13 Yukon River Chinook Salmon Subsistence S...

URE-03-12 Yukon River Chinook Salmon Subsistence S...