ODFW study set to track coast salmon.
NEWPORT - Salmon anglers may notice some unusual markings on fish in several coastal watersheds as a result of a multi-year research effort on fall chinook salmon being conducted by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.
The research, which involves marking chinook salmon by punching small holes in their gill covers - as well as inserting radio transmitters in a few fish - is being conducted to meet Oregon's obligation under the U.S./Canada Pacific Salmon Treaty. The study will help provide more accurate population estimates.
Field biologists involved in the study will be working on the Nehalem, Siuslaw, Umpqua and Coquille rivers.
"The public may see us at night when fish are on the move," said Hal Weeks, the study's field project leader. "We don't want people to be alarmed when they see lights on these rivers at night."
Crews capture and mark incoming chinook in the lower rivers.
"We take particular care to handle the fish carefully and to capture fish in locations where they will have minimum stress and recover quickly," Weeks said.
Later, information on marked fish will be recorded by crews sampling the catch of recreational anglers or recovering carcasses after the fish have spawned.
Anglers who find a marked fish do not need to report it, but those who catch a chinook with a radio transmitter are asked to release the fish carefully back into the river to allow researchers to continue collecting valuable information. It is illegal to keep a radio-tagged fish in this area. Those who find a spawned-out chinook with a radio transmitter are asked to return the transmitters to an ODFW office for reuse.
Most "north migrating" Oregon fall chinook are harvested in commercial and sport fisheries off Canada and Alaska that are governed by the treaty. To better manage these wild populations, researchers are testing several monitoring methods to more accurately reflect the fluctuations in fall chinook numbers so harvest levels can be adjusted appropriately.
The study is being financed by federal funding made available following treaty amendments adopted in 1999. For more information about a marked fish or the research project, call Hal Weeks at ODFW's Marine Resource Program office in Newport at 541-867-0300, Ext. 279 or e-mail Hal.Weeks@state.or.us.
|Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback|
|Publication:||The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)|
|Date:||Aug 22, 2002|
|Previous Article:||Fires can help, hurt wildlife.|
|Next Article:||Outlook mixed for bow hunting.|