Fisheries managers have been predicting a slightly below-average run of spring Chinook salmon on the Columbia River this year but a newly published suggests that it may be worse.
The lack of food for the salmon in 2015 may have resulted in significant mortality that will show in this year’s run of Columbia River springers. One way or another, it will provide new information on fish survival and whether juvenile salmon prey data can help resource managers predict future returns.
Results of the research, which was funded by the Bonneville Power Administration and NOAA, have just been published in the journal Marine Ecology Progress Series.
About 80 percent of a typical spring Chinook run on the Columbia River come from fish that went out to sea as yearlings two years earlier, according to lead author Elizabeth Daly, a senior faculty research assistant with the Cooperative Institute for Marine Resource Studies, jointly operated by OSU and NOAA out of the Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport.
“When juvenile salmon first enter the ocean, it is a critical time for them,” Daly said. “They are adjusting to a salt-water environment, they have to eat to survive, and they have to avoid becoming prey themselves. When we sampled juvenile salmon in May and June of 2015, the fish were much smaller and thinner than usual, and many of them had empty stomachs. There just wasn’t anything for them to eat.”
Read the full article here: https://phys.org/news/2017-03-anomalous-ocean-conditions-bode-poorly.html