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Auke Bay Laboratory (ABL)

Marine Salmon Interactions Program

Annual Auke Creek Cooperative Research and Planning Meeting

Cooperative research on salmon, trout, and char that use the Auke Lake system continued in the first quarter of 2005. The Auke Lake system supports endemic populations of pink, chum, sockeye, and coho salmon, cutthroat and steelhead trout, and Dolly Varden. Some of the data sets have been continued since the early 1960s and are filed at the ABL.

In 1983, an interagency cooperative agreement relating to ABLs Auke Creek fish counting weir was established between NMFS, UAF, and the ADF&G. Many cooperative studies and graduate theses have been conducted under this agreement. An interagency meeting of all participating interagency personnel is held annually. A report of fish counts from daily weir operations and other information related to salmonid research at Auke Creek is prepared by the NMFS project leader. The Auke Creek weir annual report is available on the ABL web site at

The Auke Creek interagency meeting was held on 24 February 2005 and focused on salmonid research projects. Summaries and operational plans were presented on projects for 2005 at the Auke Creek weir. Currently 19 projects are scheduled at Auke Creek for 2005. In general, NMFS will continue the long-term data collections on all species, emphasizing the marine survival and freshwater production of pink, coho, and sockeye salmon. The ADF&G will continue the long-term research programs on Dolly Varden, cutthroat trout, and coho salmon. The UAF will resume the outbreeding depression study on pink salmon in 2005 and is actively recruiting a graduate student for the project.

An interesting report was given by Leon Shaul (ADF&G) on Southeast Alaska coho salmon index stocks. Marine survival of these stocks has decreased in all index areas over the last 2 years (200304). Auke Creek is one of the ADF&G index coho stocks. Rick Focht of the Macaulay Hatchery (Douglas Island Pink and Chum Corporation) provided a summary of the 2004 return of chinook salmon released in Auke Bay near Auke Creek and discussed plans for the release of chinook salmon juveniles in Auke Bay in 2005. Meeting participants also discussed continuing the multi-agency cooperative agreement for work at the NMFS weir and experimental fish hatchery at Auke Creek, which expires at the end of the 2005 field season. All participating agencies expressed a strong interest in continuing cooperative salmonid research at Auke Creek.

By Jerry Taylor

Auke Creek Fish Counting Weir Operations Begin for 2005

The Auke Creek fish counting weir is key to all salmonid research projects at Auke Creek. The weir is a permanent structure with the capability of capturing all emigrant and immigrant salmonids, and can operate during extreme water flows. The annual weir schedule of operation is developed at the annual Auke Creek cooperative research meeting, which was held on 24 February for 2005.

The weir was installed in the downstream capture mode on 28 February 2005. Stream flow was high, and the weir was operating within minutes of the last installation of weir panels. Continued rainfall and snowmelt during the first weeks of operation maintained streamflow at high levels. There were no icing problems at the weir during March. Auke Lake remained ice-covered throughout March, and water temperatures were between 1.8 and 3.1C.

Usually during March, pink and chum salmon fry dominate the number of emigrant salmonids, with an occasional Dolly Varden or cutthroat trout captured. A total of 5,967 pink salmon fry were counted at the weir through March. The daily counts for March 2005 were less than the historical daily averages for March. The average number of pink salmon fry leaving Auke Lake in March 2005 was 10,082. The highest count during any March from 1973 to 2003 was 45,000 in 1984. Pink salmon fry emigrations usually reach the midpoint of migration by 20 April, and the earliest recorded midpoint of emigration was 1 April 1998. Only 15 chum salmon fry were captured in March, less than average for Auke Creek. Eight Dolly Varden were captured during March. Numbers of all fish are expected to increase during April.

By Jerry Taylor

2005 Pink and Chum Salmon Workshop

The 22nd Northeast Pacific Pink and Chum Workshop was held in Ketchikan, Alaska, in February 2005. The Pink and Chum Workshop series was initiated in 1962 to promote communication among scientists involved with pink salmon research and management in the Pacific Northwest, British Columbia, and Alaska. The need for a workshop emerged because of concerns over the status of pink salmon stocks in the northeast Pacific Ocean. Initial workshops focused on pink salmon, but chum salmon research was included after 1970 because of the similarities in the life cycles, ecology, and management of the two species.

Several ABL scientists helped plan and stage the workshop, and also presented scientific papers. Alex Wertheimer of ABLs Marine Salmon Interactions Program (MSI) was cochair of the steering committee that organized the workshop program and logistic arrangements. Scientists from ABL who organized and led sessions included K Koski of the Habitat Program (Habitat Management and Restoration), Bill Heard of MSI (Salmon Farming and Impacts on Pink and Chum Salmon), Kalei Shotwell of the Marine Fish Program (Forecasting and Recruitment Prediction), and Jamal Moss of the Ocean Carrying Capacity Program (OCC) and Molly Sturdevant of MSI (Ocean Ecology of Pink and Chum Salmon). Individuals who presented papers on ABL pink and chum salmon research included Chris Kondzela (OCC), Cara Rodgveller (OCC), K Koski, Alex Wertheimer, Jamal Moss, and Molly Sturdevant.

By Alex Wertheimer


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