It's all in the genes -- Including the tracking device
Parentage-based tagging (PBT) is an emerging genetic-based fish tagging method that involves genotyping hatchery broodstock. PBT is a passive non-invasive approach to stock identification because the parents, not the offspring, are genetically sampled at spawning, thereby "tagging" the offspring. This method provides the same information as traditional physical tags but also allows for collection of more detailed information that previously was impossible or impractical to gather using traditional tagging methods.
According to the article published today in the Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences: "This study in the Snake River basin is one of the first large-scale implementations of PBT in salmonids and lays the foundation for adopting this technology more broadly, thereby allowing the unprecedented ability to mark millions of smolts and an opportunity to address a variety of fisheries-based research and management questions."
Genetically tagging hatchery-reared fish using PBT is extremely efficient because genotyping hundreds of broodstock parents results in millions of tagged offspring. When fully implemented, PBT can "tag" 100% of hatchery-origin fish.
"The role of genetic methods in fisheries management has reached a milestone," says Craig Steele, a researcher at the Idaho Department of Fish and Game's Fish Genetics Laboratory in Eagle, Idaho, and lead author of the study. "The main application of this technology is to provide information on the origin and age of hatchery fish. But it can also provide additional information relevant to conservation and management efforts including assessments of genetic diversity, relative reproductive success, and the heritability of different physical or behavioral traits."
Since 2008, a regional sampling effort by collaborating state, tribal, and federal agencies has resulted in the implementation of this genetic tagging approach in hatchery-origin steelhead and spring-summer Chinook in the Snake River Basin. The Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) and the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission (CRITFC) verified the accuracy of this new approach and presented the results of their collaborative study in the Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences.
The IDFG is committed to adopting PBT as a tool for fisheries management. Collaborative efforts with CRITFC are now underway to expand genetic sampling outside the Snake River Basin and throughout the Columbia River Basin. Adopting this genetic approach for large-scale fisheries management positions the region among the first to use this cutting-edge technology.
This article is available free on the CJFAS website: http://www.nrcresearchpress.com/doi/abs/10.1139/cjfas-2012-0451
Yes, you can fish for trout on the Boise River right near downtown!
Fish population surveys on the Boise River below Lucky Peak Reservoir though downtown Boise. Surveys are performed every 3 years to monitor trends in the fish community using electrofishing gear. Fish are momentarily stunned, then weighed, measured and released unharmed
Fish and Game closes steelhead harvest to protect small run of fish
By Roger Phillips, Public Information Specialist
Tuesday, August 15, 2017 - 12:20 PM MDT
Closure takes effect at midnight on Aug. 17. Catch and release angling is still allowed.
An extremely small number of steelhead returning to Idaho so far has prompted Fish and Game to reduce the bag limit on adipose-clipped hatchery steelhead to zero – closing all rivers to harvest for the fall steelhead season.
Through Aug. 14, about 400 steelhead have crossed Lower Granite Dam about 30 miles downstream from Lewiston. The 10-year average for that date is about 6,000 steelhead. Regardless of the size of the hatchery return, anglers have been required to release any wild fish caught since 1987. Catch and release of wild fish is an important conservation tool to protect them, and it continues this year.
Closing harvest of hatchery steelhead while leaving it open for catch-and-release fishing will also help ensure enough broodstock return to steelhead hatcheries to produce the next generation of fish.
Although only a fraction of the steelhead run has crossed Lower Granite Dam, fisheries managers are tracking the run as it moves upstream.
Historic run data shows that by Aug. 15, about half of the fish should have already crossed Bonneville Dam on the Columbia River, which is the first dam where the fish are counted. Through Aug. 14, only 3,900 Idaho steelhead have crossed Bonneville.
Fisheries managers are carefully watching steelhead returns, and if there’s an unexpected increase, harvest can be reopened, but at this point, that’s very unlikely. Washington and Oregon have also restricted steelhead harvest for anglers in the Columbia River to protect Idaho-bound fish.
“We realize steelhead anglers will be disappointed, and many will choose not to fish this fall as a result of the decision to close harvest,” said Lance Hebdon, Fish and Game’s anadromous fish manager. “We will continue to monitor hatchery and wild steelhead returns as the run continues to determine if changes are needed.”
Fisheries managers say they're aware some people are concerned about the possible effects of allowing catch-and-release angling on a small return.
“Based on our experience, catch-and-release fishing has proven to be an effective conservation tool, and we’ve been able to allow it in the past while still protecting a below-average return of wild fish,” Hebdon said. “We realize that catch and release is not zero-impact, but it is very low impact. With the expected reduction in angler participation, we are confident that the protection is there. We have documented populations rebounding even with a limited number of spawners.”
Every year’s run of adults is produced by at least two years of outmigrating young fish, which provide a buffer during years of poor returns.
Fish managers know that fewer people fish for steelhead when the run is small, and even fewer will fish because harvest is not allowed. But it’s important that anglers practicing catch-and-release treat all steelhead with care and release them with minimal handling. Here are some tips for properly releasing fish unharmed.
Idaho’s steelhead runs typically fluctuate from year to year, but what makes this year unusual is an exceptionally small hatchery return at the same time as a small wild run. The 1996 steelhead run, for example, had only 7,600 wild fish, but they combined with 79,000 hatchery fish.
Fish and Game has only closed all steelhead fishing (harvest and catch and release) once in the last 43 years. Harvest restrictions and length limits have been implemented in the past for the Clearwater River, Snake and Salmon rivers to adjust for low returns. Although harvest is closed, steelhead anglers are still required to have a valid steelhead permit.
Fisheries managers are hoping this is a short-term situation. All salmon and steelhead runs to Idaho this year have been below average, and small runs were forecasted based on early indicators last year.
Portions of this steelhead run migrated to the Pacific in 2015, which was a low-water year with early hot weather that produced hazardous river conditions for young fish leaving Idaho. Ocean productivity was also poor that year, which persisted in 2016, and made conditions even more difficult for fish.
While closing the harvest for adipose-clipped steelhead could put a damper on fall fisheries, an abundant run of fall chinook returning to Idaho will provide some good fishing opportunity. The forecast is for 27,000 chinook, and those fish are now arriving.
Fall chinook fishing season opens on Aug. 18, and anglers can harvest six adult chinook daily, and there’s no bag limit on "jack" fall chinook smaller than 24 inches
The full article can be found here: https://idfg.idaho.gov/press/fish-and-game-closes-steelhead-harvest-protect-small-run-fish